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Christina Studts

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College of Public Health Dean's Outstanding Teaching Performance Award (2016)

At the risk of putting you on the spot, what contribution to teaching do you believe led to your award recognition during the 2016-2017 academic school year?
I redesigned a required course for MPH students concentrating in Health Behavior - CPH 643, Measuring Health Behavior: Individuals and Communities. The course has been really well-received by our students with consistently high teacher and course evaluations. I used at least 3 strategies in this course redesign that I learned from CELT seminars/workshops: (1) assertion-evidence slides (rather than bullet-points); (2) a pretest so that growth can be objectively measured from the beginning to the end of the semester; and (3) hands-on, interactive small group activities in each class session.

In your opinion, what are the qualities of a great teacher?
All teachers must be knowledgeable, but a great teacher is enthusiastically engaged with the topic, a good listener, energetic, student-focused, encouraging, and maintains high standards and expectations. A sense of humor doesn't hurt.

What do you find most gratifying about teaching?
I love interacting with students. The topics I teach sometimes appear dry at first glance, so I really enjoy seeing students become excited and engaged with the material. I especially love hearing from past students about how they have applied the skills and knowledge they gained in my classes in their public health practice in the real world.

What makes teaching challenging? How do you navigate those challenges?
As a researcher, my biggest challenges in teaching involve time. Navigation of this challenge has mostly involved becoming more proactive and organized in my course preparation.

What are your interests outside of teaching (i.e., your hobbies)?
Being a busy mom to two busy children; hiking; and reading.

Who inspires you? And why?
Female leaders--on campus, nationally, and internationally--who work hard every day to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of balancing personal and professional interests and responsibilities.

What is the best advice you ever received about teaching?
Teaching should be fun. If it isn't, you may need to reassess what you are doing and why.

What resources or recommendations would you share with instructors who are seeking to adopt new teaching practices?
Attend as many CELT workshops as you can. Read McKeachie's "Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers." Allow CELT instructors or your colleagues to sit in on your classes to observe, and be open to their feedback. Don't stagnate!

Christina Studts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society.