Dr. Susan Sims-Giddens has seen the nursing program at Missouri State grow and flourish since 1998, when she came to the university to teach.
She brought years of experience working in settings from hospitals to private offices.
She retired as a full-time faculty member in 2016. She has been teaching part-time online since.
Now, she’s a member of the Onward, Upward campaign cabinet. She will play a vital role in helping MSU meet the 5 goals of the campaign.
What have been your favorite things about teaching at Missouri State for two decades?
Seeing the nursing program grow from a small department.
When I started, we had just begun some of the programs that are now established. We created master’s level programs, used new technology and started putting our programs online. This connected us with students who were working professionals with families, or students who were taking our courses in different time zones.
Our flexibility continues now, and allows students to access the programs they want to access.
Also, bonding with faculty during regular Saturday road trips. We had fun, and we would talk about teaching and designing our curriculum. Some of us still travel together!
How is Missouri State in a good position to address the nationwide nursing shortage?
It starts with recruiting, advising and knowing the profession.
From my experience of being a faculty member, we always tried to be on the cutting-edge.
We were one of the first to put courses online. We were one of the first to expand our undergraduate and graduate programs.
We were one of the first to do this, and that, and on and on.
Missouri State was not afraid to try new things to make us more appealing to students and evolve with the profession. That means when students graduate, they get job offers and are ready to enter the many positions that are available.
That’s a good thing, because the need for nurses is so great.
What are a few fun things people may not know about you?
First, I garden. I am an officer in gardening societies. I grow irises and lilies, and that is because of my grandmother. She was a great lover of flowers. She grew dahlias, and I mean the big, dinner-plate size dahlias. They were just magnificent.
Also, I have a home business. My mother and dad collected antiques, and I inherited all sorts of goodies. So, what do I do with all this? I can’t keep everything.
I opened up a little online business, Susan’s Vintage Home on Etsy. I think of it as my favorite things finding a new home and somebody to love them like I have.
What’s your favorite place on campus?
Anywhere with vegetation and trees.
Our planting beds are always gorgeous. Many times, they are full of maroon flowers.
As a gardener, I notice they’re well-planted, well-tended and colorful. I drive around, and I say, “Ooh, look! That’s a wonderful grass. Now, I wonder what kind that is?”
Our grounds always look welcoming.
As a campaign cabinet member, what’s your dream for the future of Missouri State?
To give the very best experience to our students. From my experience, students come here because Missouri State has a personal feel, even though we are a large university.
We want the best possible resources because we really do care about their success.
Why she’s passionate about giving back:
“Nursing education benefits all of us.”
Dr. Susan Sims-Giddens has personally seen the transformative power of higher education.
She was a first-generation college student who went on to earn a doctoral degree.
That’s why she gives to Missouri State and is a member of The Founders Club.
“I know how hard our students work today. It’s important for me to give back so they can be successful.”
She and her late husband, Edwin, a 1999 MSU graduate, established a scholarship in 2012.
The Susan Sims-Giddens and Edwin Giddens Scholarship goes to students who are already registered nurses and are in school to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Sims-Giddens also established a scholarship in her parents’ names for graduate-level nursing students. She supports other scholarships as well.
“Many nursing students work full-time and have a family, and their financial resources may be stretched. I think they deserve to be here and follow their dream,” she said.
“Nursing education benefits all of us because when nurses are fully educated, we all get better health care. I love my profession, and I want others to love it as much as I do. I always get teary when I say that. But that’s why I give.”