School of Health Sciences: Health Sciences, Health Affairs
UB Beacom Hall 312
I followed a non-traditional route to my degree in Higher Education Administration achieved in conjunction with full time employment in allied health, higher education, and administration. I have also held office in multiple professional organizations at the local, state, and national level.
My teaching interests include health sciences, higher education, radiation biology, imaging science administration, health care delivery systems, group processes, global health care, credentialing examinations, and cultural competency. My untraditional navigation through higher education as a health care professional allows me to empathize with my students as they make their own way through college and begin building a career. In my role as a faculty member, I have employed this empathy to not only ensure the highest quality educational experience for my students, but also to develop relationships, which is central to becoming a successful health care provider and citizen. With an eye on my students' futures, I incorporate three primary philosophies in my role as a faculty member: be an engaged learning partner, treat my students as my future peers, and maintain universality in how material is delivered to model cultural competency. My priority is to be present and engaged. Engaged teaching comes from years of trial and error. I find that if I bring energy to my classroom then courses are not just survivable, but truly enjoyable for everyone. Enthusiasm for content and enthusiasm in the hunt for content is necessary to teach with clarity, empathy, and social justice. I wear my role as a mentor for students as a mantle in my academic life. I want to be the guide for my students that I wished I had had. My educational journey was accidental at best and aimless in reality. I was blindsided in April of my senior year in high school, with graduation around the corner and no idea what was next. My friends had applied and had been accepted into surrounding colleges, I was oblivious to post secondary education.My parents viewed high school graduation as the end to learning and the beginning of becoming a hard working, honest, and productive contributor to society. With three days before the application deadline, my soon to be sister-in-law, suggested I apply to a radiologic technology program. Tuition was $500 each year, provided we take call and work the night shift. I earned a certificate degree. I was a married mother of two toddlers and a full time faculty member when I returned for a Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Administration. Pursuit of a degree was a contingency of my recently appointed role as program director in a new nuclear medicine program. My children were in middle school when I commuted to attend evening classes to earn a Masters degree in Adult Education. This was to satisfy myself; I learned that the more I learned the better instructor I could be, which brought a sense of reward to me. My kids were both married and I had joined USD’s health science team when I earned my terminal degree. I’ve never had a roommate except her husband for the past 30 years, never voted for college homecoming royalty, never attended a large lecture hall course or visited the financial aid office. My haphazard educational path and experiences gives me a bigger view of health care professions. I can empathize with students as they face difficult educational and career decisions; the difference is that my tuition was a fraction of the cost to our students. The job market as well as job satisfaction are key to their decision process. My approach to teaching changed as my professional identity grew, and so my teaching philosophy will also change and grow. Values that define my philosophy for teaching include my responsibility to students to 1.) promote positive camaraderie in the classroom and in the community through service learning, 2.) be approachable and personally connect with each student, and 3.) spark enthusiasm for health care and exploration of career paths. One approach, from my years in administration that is an effective tool in education is “getting the right people on the bus” from Jim Collins’ From Good to Great (2001). Health care delivery systems have become big business. We must prepare our students for this professional bureaucracy with some business acumen. Collins’ recommended the “Hedgehog Concept”. This involves an approach using a three circle concept which intersects in the center. Students identify within the circles “what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be the best in the world at, and what drives your economic engine” as it pertains to educational pursuits, social engagement, and work/life balance. This can only be accomplished through mentoring. A return to teaching in my later professional life has given me the perspective that I am training my replacements. I am obliged to mentor them as a professional. The proven success of high functioning teams in health care is reason enough to offer a variety of educational opportunities, such as incorporating many personality inventories, fostering team activities, practicing interviews, making connections with industry contacts for them for shadowing or out of class discussions. I assist with applications on a weekly basis, which is only a quarter of the number of letters of recommendations that I write. By knowing students personally make writing recommendations and advising easier. I help them find their seat on the right bus. Fortunately through the years I have made many impressive contacts in the health care and global industries. I often invite these distinguished colleagues from prominent health care systems to share with the class what they are looking for in a health care professional. I bring real life experiences to the classroom from both an employee and employers view. I believe that if I do my job correct and students do their job correct we will soon be fellow health care professionals. The least I can do is mentor them on their journey. I enjoyed leadership and administrative positions in private health practices and an international organization but the opportunity to be to a faculty member in health sciences are an opportunity to be an active participant in the future of my profession. Health care is a trillion-dollar and double-digit gross domestic product industry; it is also a personal and emotional industry. The fastest growing jobs in the United States are health care related. The convergence of factors such as an aging workforce decreased medical reimbursements, workflow inefficiencies, emerging technologies, and the nationwide transition to electronic health records result in an increased demand for services for the fast-growing senior citizen demographic and retirement of the current workforce. The aging population is anticipated to tax the present medical imaging profession as more services are required for seniors. Hospitalizations are predicted to increase in frequency. This trend could leave many of today’s allied health professionals without a health care workforce to care for us when we reach retirement. I view education in the health sciences as professional and personal insurance. I have the ability to share with our students theory of health care and research.I feel I have the obligation to mentor them through the professional bureaucracy of United States health care. My instructional approach is truly a combination of the behavioral model through direct instruction and the cognitive model as I often try to expose students to many community events and guest lectures, but I follow mostly a constructivist approach. Methods and approaches to intellectual development in learners have been greatly influenced by the research of Jean Piaget, William Perry and Lev Vygotsky. The theories complement each other because of their focus on development; each theory describes how individuals learn. The theories represent an approach to learning that is based on the premise that cognition is the result of mental construction. Constructivists believe that learning is affected by the context in which an idea is taught, as well as by the learner’s beliefs and attitudes. I know this is true for me and most in allied health. The teaching objective I have the most passion for is directly related to Perry’s final position, the Commitment stage, which is similar to Piaget’s final stage, in that it recognizes that the attainment of knowledge occurs as a result of education, personal experiences, and reflection. Yet the alternative to cognitive development offered by Lev Vygotsky proposes that learning occurs through social interactions and community through three major themes: social interaction, The More Knowledgeable Other, and The Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky proposed that social interaction is the initial foundation for complex mental processes. We utilize technology in class to look up concepts or approaches, we brainstorm in groups, we invite guest speakers knowledgeable in this area, or sometimes just surf u tube to get a brief overview of a political platform on a health care reform issue. Vygotsky’s work focused on the connections between people within various sociocultural contexts and how these connections effect adult development He argued that learning occurs within group, mentor, and social relationships, I feel an obligation to facilitate group activities, act as a mentor and participate myself in social settings through required service learning participation. I impart more by way of modeling as I believe our students are very perceptive in recognizing when faculty does not practice what is preached. There are several values that I try model including the importance of organization through preparation, and accountability; respect for others ; citizenship both community and professional; the value of clear and effective communication in both written and oral form; the importance of social justice; and the ability to embrace global and cultural appreciation. It is a personal mission to maintain inclusiveness in the classroom and encourage global awareness. Cultural diversity, group culture and inventories are areas that are an active part of the courses I teach in concert with course content. Although a variety of learning styles are likely represented by learners in any large class/group setting, I routinely design my instruction to respect differing preferences and perspectives. In addition I incorporate results of cognitive learning brain-based research in neurosciences including my background in nuclear medicine and the imaging sciences. Some of my favorites that are well received by students include: think-pair-share, mandatory cheat sheets, 2X4’s, point/counterpoint, a day in their shoes, as well as interactive lectures and discussions of current events. I believe that leadership and professional development is being the best professional you are capable of becoming. A high school government teacher said to me once something like “as a citizen you always have the right to vote, but an uniformed vote or uninvolved individual has no right to complain.” This statement definitely shaped both my professional life and social life; I simply cannot be a card carrying member. I have aided in the diagnosis of cancer and heart disease in nuclear medicine, been an administrator over a radiation therapy system, a family member to multiple cancer survivors so accepting the position chair of the ACS gala in 2012 was easy. We had 75 USD health science students involved and we raised the most donations in the history of the event. American Heart Association is the most concerning and fastest growing area of heath care in both the Midwest and the South. This was an obvious connection for our students. I enjoyed the red dress dash in wind-chill of 15 below because the students had a blast being a part of a bigger picture in health care! Personal contact with students is essential to my teaching philosophy; I emphasize my availability for informal discussion and my willingness to help them sort out any problems they have with what they are learning. My experience as a teacher is greatly enriched by this contact with students. I am fortunate to teach in the health sciences where I can follow the progress of the students through the program, into graduate schools and professional programs and into the workplace beyond graduation as my peers. I feel triumphant for my generation, as parents and mentors, when I see how far they have come in their world view and practice of acceptance and peace. I enjoy mentoring other faculty but can often become exasperated with faculty that talk about how flawed our students are, how their writing skills aren't as good as they should be, or how they don't attend class the way they should, or are un-engaged in class. I learn from them, I feel joy when they demonstrate genuine kindness and compassion on a daily basis.
As part of the health science major program, I have a research interest in graduate placement and graduate satisfaction data. I was part of an inaugural program once before and the ability to gather information from the start of the program proved to be rich for program assessment and development. I have offered to be the primary investigator in these two surveys. Other interest include a needs assessment and follow-up with credentialing exams and specifically predictors of success on certification exams. I am currently pursuing this process/curriculum opportunity. Currently, I am a part of 3 research projects, I am primary investigator for two of the projects. The first is a qualitative analysis assessing cultural competency with faculty led programs. Data collection began in May 2013 and will be complete in May 2014. The purpose of the research is to examine changes in students' attitudes and knowledge about other cultures and people before and after taking part in an international faculty-led program at USD. The goal is to gather qualitative data that demonstrate changes in a student's 'inter-cultural competency' (awareness of difference, ability to process information from different perspectives, sensitivity and identification to ethnocentric behaviors and beliefs, etc.) in order to make claims about how effective these types of international experiences are for student learning and development. The second study is The Cause and Effects of Students Who Study Abroad in the Health Care. The study is looking at:1) what variables explain a students' propensity and/or interest in taking part in an international program offered as part of their studies at USD, and 2) how does taking part in an international program at USD affect a student's understanding of the health care field. In seeking answers to these two questions, the study intends to identify the behavioral and attitudinal changes among students who take part in international programs versus those who don't, as well as to identify behaviors and attitudes that predict participation in such activities. both of these research projects are complimentary of not only the mission and values of the health science major, but also with USD strategic plan. The third research project is in collaboration with a representative from each of the school of health science programs on theory and practice of Evidence Based Medicine. This project with compliment USD strategic plan of interdisciplinary research and scholarship.
- EDD, Higher Education Administration, St. Cloud State University, 2012
- M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, South Dakota State University, 2000
- BS, Naturopathy/ Holistic Health, Clayton School of Health Sciences, 1999
- BS, Allied Health Administration, Presentation College, 1994
- American Cancer Society Gala Leadership, Center for Academic Engagement, (2013 - 2013)
Awards and Honors:
- outstanding faculty member as part of the Athletic Department’s new “Faculty Appreciation Days” program. , USD Athletic Department , 2013
- 2013 AEIRS Honor's Lecturer, Association of Educators in the Radiologic and Imaging Sciences, 2013
- Fellow, Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences, 2006
- #11 25 Most Influential People in Radiology, RT Image, 2004