By William J. Sobotor, PhD, RT
“If only a program like this was available when I first started teaching!” That succinctly sums up my initial reaction when I was first invited to join the Doctor of Health Professions Education (DHPE) program as faculty.
When I first made the transition from applied clinical work to health care education, it was an immediate change with no ‘prep’ time. Back then, if you were a good clinician it was assumed you would be a good instructor. There was no focus on instructional methods, learning theories, course objectives or learning outcomes. A degree plan like the DHPE program did not exist. I left the clinic on a Friday and walked into the classroom on a Monday!
Despite diligently working over the weekend to develop an appropriate lesson plan, I still remember the anxiety of that first day in the classroom and feeling totally inadequate and unprepared. What do I do? How do I explain this theory? How do I know I’m getting my point across? How do I measure learning? How do I even know if the students are learning?
Preparing for each class was basically a matter of trial and error. Every day was a new, unique experience filled with uncertainty. Over a few terms, my comfort level slowly grew along with my confidence. Continuous personal reading and researching along with attending and participating in professional seminars, conferences and workshops helped fill the void between what I was doing and why it was or was not effective. Each day was an exercise in retrospection filled with many ‘aha’ moments when a little internal voice would say, “So that’s why that worked,” or “Tomorrow I’ll try…” Gradually, theory began to fill in the gaps, and walking into the classroom no longer spawned moments of intense anxiety and uncertainty or feelings of inadequacy.
That’s one of the reasons I was excited to become a part of the DHPE program at Logan University. It is so rewarding to be a part of an educational program that offers the practicing health care professional multiple opportunities to develop and perfect the skills necessary to be confident, comfortable and successful in the classroom.
The DHPE degree plan is designed to make the transition from clinic to the classroom smoother and more meaningful with a grounding in sound educational theory and research practices. At the same time, the DHPE degree offers current health professions faculty an avenue through which they can fully participate in the rigors of academia, advance their own career goals and aspirations, and assume leadership positions in their respective health care disciplines.
The added benefit of the DHPE program is the fact it is designed to accommodate the working professional without impacting their work schedule. Designed as a totally online program, the curriculum is strategically sequenced so that full-time employment can be maintained. This encourages the development of a diverse student cohort representing multiple health care disciplines. This diversity encourages the sharing of professional experiences which foster a true sense of inter-disciplinary learning.
About Dr. Sobotor
William J. Sobotor, PhD, RT joined Logan in 2015 as an adjunct instructor for the Doctor of Health Professions Education program. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Sociology from Bloomsburg University and his PhD in Human Development from Syracuse University. Previously, Dr. Sobotor served as a staff radiation therapist at Geisinger Medical Center, director of clinical education and professor at State University of New York, chair of the allied health division at Darton College, dean of allied health at Baptist College of Health Sciences, and provost and vice president of academic affairs at Baptist College of Health Sciences. Dr. Sobotor has earned the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the State University of New York at Syracuse and has extensive experience in health professions education accreditation.