How does one become a college teacher? Simple - you get a contract! Unfortunately, that's the extent of teaching preparation for many people in higher education, particularly in the health professional training setting. Most professors are outstanding clinicians, scientists, and content experts, but few have formal training in educational theory or methods.

My training began the same apprentice route as many professors - emulating the behavior of teachers I thought were decent instructors. Eventually I began to realize my efforts fell short of students' expectations, so I began to look for ways to improve my lecturing and facilitation skills.

In the '80s, I took courses in systematic course design and teaching skills at the Harvard Medical School. The latter program was especially humbling because it involved being videotaped while making a short lecture and then being critiqued by the instructor and fellow classmates. I learned the power of self-reflection in this process.

In the '90s, I took a series of workshops on problem-based learning through the Southern Illinois School of Medicine. It was these sessions, taught by Howard Barrows, M.D., and Steven Abrahamson, M.D., that opened my eyes to the ineffectiveness of lecture and the power of small group inquiry.

In the 2000's I took programs on team-based learning through the American Association of Medical Colleges. I also completed the Educational Technology Leadership master's degree program at George Washington University.