As a new instructor in the Dental Hygiene program in the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science, Kiesha Werlitz, RDH, MS, found participating in and completing her first medallion in the Teaching and Learning Center’s Medallion Program beneficial.
“Being new to teaching, there were so many takeaways,” she said. “The assignments in this program required me to reflect on my teaching philosophy, concisely document it, and then articulate it into my current courses. What resonated with me mostly in this program is that teaching requires constant evaluation, reflection, and continuous refinement of the process.”
Werlitz is one of the first three UTHSC educators to receive their Craft of Teaching Medallion in the TLC’s Medallion Program, launched in 2020. The program is comprised of 13 courses offered to UTHSC educators, who wish to master skills in areas related to teaching and learning, while providing evidence of growth in professional development. In the recommended first course, the Craft of Teaching, participants write a teaching philosophy and learning objectives while working through exercises related to feedback and assessment, student engagement, reflection, and planning for learning.
Each medallion requires at least 20 hours of work, but participants can complete them at their own pace, which was a great advantage for Kelsey Frederick, PharmD, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science in Nashville.
“The learning platform itself was well organized and filled with relevant and diverse content,” she said. “The workload was feasible with appropriate time management even in a busy academic semester/year, and the content and assignments were of an acceptable difficulty level – rightfully challenging and thought-provoking, but not difficult in a way that discourages learning. Having the chance to apply the knowledge and skills learned through the medallion program to my own courses/teaching throughout the program was beneficial and helped me further understand the principles being taught.”
Interim Assistant Dean of Basic Science Curriculum in the College of Medicine, Ryan Sheehy, PhD, enjoyed interacting with other educators in the program. “I was new to the university when I began the Medallion Program,” he said. “Now, I feel like I know a few other faculty members from other educational programs. One downside was that not all of the activities within the program directly applied to me. However, Devin Scott (instructional consultant in the TLC), worked with me to modify the activities to better align with my job to allow me to gain knowledge tailored specifically for my role.”
Other concentration areas in the Medallion Program include: Inclusive Learning, Teaching with Technology, Information Literacy, Pedagogy of the Social Determinants of Health, Simulation, Clinical Educator, Assessment, Course Design, Mentoring, Paradigms of Education, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and Teaching Online. Once participants complete nine medallions, they will receive the program’s highest distinction, an Expert Educator medallion. Additional incentives include award ceremony recognition and a one-time, $3,000 award.
“The response to the program has been fabulous,” said TLC director Tom Laughner, PhD. “Fifty-five instructors from across UTHSC are working on medallions. Their involvement illustrates the commitment our faculty have to providing excellent education to our students.”
More information is available on the Medallion Program website. Faculty interested in the program are encouraged to talk to their department chairs who will reach out to the TLC.