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Diane Billings

Faces of IUPUI: Diane Billings

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Diane Billings (right) with her former mentee Pamela Jeffries, who is now the dean of George Washington University School of Nursing. Photo courtesy of the IU School of Nursing

Retired Chancellor's Professor Emerita Diane Billings started her journey to becoming a face of IUPUI in 1969. She began her teaching career as a faculty member in the Purdue University Associate Degree Program in Nursing at the 38th Street campus before the program became part of the School of Nursing on the downtown campus. A faculty member for 38 years until her retirement in 2006, Billings left an indelible mark on the School of Nursing, the IUPUI campus, and the field of nursing more broadly.

During her career, Billings taught courses in the each of the school's academic programs. She also ensured that the School of Nursing retained its competitive edge in the age of digital and online learning by implementing a plan to put a computer on the desk of each faculty and staff member and developing a state-of-the-art computer lab for students in the early 1990s. An expert in distance education, Billings successfully applied for a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education grant for the development of three online academic courses designed specifically for critical care nurses. She then worked with a team to plan and develop each course.

In addition to her presence in the classroom, Billings also served as the Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Information Resources. She oversaw the School of Nursing's Office of Lifelong Learning, Center for Excellence in Teaching, and Computer Cluster. Billings' legacy is visible today at The Simulation Center and the Learning Lab, which reflect the innovative technologies to which IUPUI students now have access thanks to her efforts.

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Billings works at a computer in the 1980s. Photo courtesy of IU School of Nursing

"My career was propelled by a vision of excellence in teaching," said Billings. "Think big and realize that change is good. Find people that have the same mission and vision as you and join forces to achieve your goal."

Billings has been honored with numerous awards for her work in nursing education. In 2002, she received the Ross Pioneer Spirit Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and in 1999, she received the Sigma Theta Tau International Founders Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and received the organization's highest honor of Living Legend for her work in advancing the science of nursing education. Her book, Teaching in Nursing: A Guide for Faculty, won The American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award in 1998 and again in 2016.

In 2015, Billings, along with her husband Richard, was awarded the IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award, and in 2016, she received the President’s Circle Laurel Pin, both commemorating her dedication to philanthropy. She has continued this commitment through gifts to the Emily Holmquist Lectureship, the Schweer Continuing Education Lectures, the McBride Professorship, the School of Nursing Faculty Award for Research in Nursing Education, and the Bepko Scholars and Fellows Program.

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Billings (first row, third from right) with her former colleagues at the Nursing Learning Resource Center. Photo courtesy of IU School of Nursing