My Educational Philosophy:

This philosophy guides my decision making regarding teaching, developing new educational programs, changes in curricula, implementation of educational technology, and interaction with colleagues and students.

I. Knowledge is a precious, yet sustainable, resource. I seek to constantly expand my foundation of knowledge in educational theory and best practices, educational technology, higher education administration, and in those topics in which I formerly specialized as a healthcare provider. You cannot diminish your own knowledge by sharing with others; in fact, helping others learn is one of the best ways to solidify your own understanding of the information.

II. Learning requires an investment of time, energy, inquisitiveness, application of new knowledge, triangulation of information from various sources, a willingness to try new things, healthy skepticism, and humility. I expect my students to exhibit these characteristics and put in the effort to learn. Learning is best when done actively and when driven by the student’s desire to learn. Over my career as an educator I slowly changed from being the classic classroom sage on the stage to being a facilitator of learning, using participative, non-lecture-based methods. To me, the lecture still serves a place in higher education, but the decision to lecture should be deliberative and based on desired outcomes, not simply on what’s easiest to prepare. Assessment is necessary not just to measure student learning, but also to determine what the teacher needs to modify in content and delivery.

III. Learning is best when it is a shared experience. Collaboration on learning activities, study groups, large group discussions, team-based learning, small-group learning, electronic discussion forums, blogs and wikis, and just plain talking over a difficult concept with a professor are all ways to make sure the student is not alone. We build our learning based on our own experiences and by sharing those experiences and interpretations with others. Through this process we begin to appreciate human diversity.

IV. I expect learners to challenge and probe the professor, the required and recommended learning resources, and one another. The learning setting should encourage the mutual respect and openness needed to encourage these activities. Professors have invested much of their lives developing their knowledge and skills, and gaining the experience necessary to establish relevance. This needs to be respected by students, but in turn the teachers need to be respectful of the learning needs of the students and of their unique experiences as adults. All persons involved in the learning setting must be willing to accept criticism and suggestions, encourage open dialog, be aware of cultural differences, provide substantiation of information, and to acknowledge mistakes and deficiencies.

V. Finally, we must accept that we are humans and are imperfect beings. In my classes you will encounter a healthy dose of humor and self-deprecation. By poking fun at myself I hope you will be encouraged to remind yourself of your own weaknesses. Someone is always smarter, faster, more experienced, and so on. As a teacher, if I don’t know the answer to a question, I admit it and then either send that student to another source or do my best to find the answer myself and provide it (or perhaps some guidance to solve the problem) to that student. As a clinician, if I felt that another doctor would be able to take care of a particular patient better than I, that patient got referred. Know your own limits and seek to refine them throughout your life.