Transformational Educator

Harvard Macy Institute

I have been privileged to serve on the faculty for the Harvard Macy Institute since 2010.  The program that I assist with is the Program for Educators in the Health Professions. Each year around 150 scholars attend two week-long sessions in Boston, Massachusetts, where they participate in activities, projects, and seminars to enhance their teaching skills.  The opportunity to participate with this group of faculty mentors has contributed very much to my professional growth.

I have benefitted in many ways:

Step-back learning –  this technique allows individuals to receive counsel from their project team in a session where they are a “fly on the wall”, listening to discussion, questions, and advice for their plans, but unable to respond until the very end. This results in listening with an open mind, and increased readiness for innovation. I have used this technique in my teaching in various small group settings, as well as for the HMI program.

Micro-teaching – The first time I had the privilege of micro-teaching, I learned incredibly valuable lessons – I realized that small changes in the way I introduced activities could make a big difference in the learning. Now I try to pay it forward when I counsel my scholars in the program.

Case-based discussions – We model a method of case-based discussion teaching during the educator program. This is a marvelous method of teaching first demonstrated at Harvard Business School by C. Roland Christensen.

Resource development – Being on the faculty allows us to make lasting friendships with a family of outstanding resources.  If you need to connect with someone on a particular campus, there is a good chance that there will be a fellow alumnus there from the HMI. If you are looking for a physician referral anywhere in the United States and abroad, it is likely that you will only be two degrees of separation from your needed referral.

Learning and insights – Being part of the faculty goes far beyond leading out in small groups. Dr Armstrong and Dr. Gooding have developed over the 25 + years a group of tremendously dedicated and effective educators. We are constantly learning from each other. Returning year after year is vital to help us stay in a constantly updated learning mode.

Teaching as a Profession

I never thought I wanted to be a teacher, but as I pursued education in the health professions, I quickly sensed that the better individuals are able to motivate and educate, the more effective they will be.   

Education comes in many forms. It can be just a product or a commodity.  “Here is the book– Learn.” It can be a service. “Come to my class and I will do my best to teach.” Or it can be transformational. I have made it my goal to provide, to the best of my abilities, transformational learning opportunities. Teaching is a journey which I take with learners—discovering, experimenting, resetting, triumphing, celebrating.

I began teaching in 1969 and fell in love with the incredible opportunities an instructor has to not only inform students, but also to inspire them.  My teaching has encompassed a number of disciplines, particularly maternal-child health (labor and delivery labs for the University of Illinois students at Cook County Hospital in Chicago) and (childbirth education classes to the community for 18 years) to higher education (leadership and research courses for doctoral students) to faculty development (courses, workshops, seminars, conference presentations, university colloquiums).

Unfortunately, many instructors, particularly in the health professions, have little education on the art and science of teaching. Because they are experts in their clinical fields, they assume that they will be able to teach effectively. Good teaching, however, requires constant study about how it can be improved. All of these years later I am still learning—and feel that I have a long ways to go.

I welcome you to the journey with me.

Nursing Education

My first year of teaching maternal-child nursing was at Loma Linda University in 1969-1970.  I had worked one year in a labor and delivery ward and completed a master’s degree in educational psychology.  Some of my students were older than I was. You can imagine the learning curve.  I then taught four years at the University of Illinois College of Nursing.

Graduate Education

Wanting to study more about effective teaching and learning, I enrolled in a doctoral program in leadership in higher education. I also completed fellowships in medical education at both the University of Southern California and the Harvard Macy Insitute. This led to teaching opportunities in several universities and several schools within those universities.

My husband and I both retired in July of 2020, after 96 years (collectively) of teaching.  What a ride!

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