Two University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry Faculty Honored for Teaching Excellence
Dr. Alison Doubleday and Dr. Fatemeh Afshari, fauclty, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry, were selected by their peers for UIC teaching awards.
A total of 32 faculty applied for the award this year. In determining recipients, a CETL subcommittee of nine previous UIC faculty award recipients considers candidate statements, student feedback, peer reviews, course materials, mentoring of students, curriculum development, and implementation of new pedagogies and methods. The council was impressed with Dr. Doubleday’s and Dr. Afshari’s range of teaching activities and program development.
“The fact that this is a peer-reviewed award means a great deal to me,” Dr. Doubleday said. “There are many exceptional teachers at UIC and I’m flattered and humbled that my teaching is recognized in this way by other UIC faculty.”
“I am passionate about teaching,” Dr. Doubleday noted. “I believe the first priority and responsibility for all faculty members at educational institutions is to help guide and facilitate the learning process for students. Through our teaching, we can instill curiosity about the world, as well as a desire to make connections across disciplines. In doing so, we provide students with the means to become life-long learners and we set them up for success in any field.”
Asking oneself “why” is crucial to learning, Dr. Afshari explained. “My philosophy has been to pursue my students to learn by asking this simple question and, in turn, seeking the answer via an evidence-based, self-directed quest. My philosophy coincides with the school’s mission of encouraging learners to become active participants in their own learning experience.”
“Although I believe my first responsibility to my students is providing them with the means to understand anatomy and histology, I also believe that an essential part of my role as a teacher involves helping students develop strategies for success,” Dr. Doubleday said. “Teaching students how to define specific goals and how to develop manageable steps that will help them achieve those goals provides them with skills that will prove valuable in all aspects of life, in or out of the classroom.”
Dr. Afshari noted that in the clinics, she encourages students “to think through the process and decipher ways that they can improve the outcome as well as themselves. I try to guide the students through the thinking process and hopefully stimulate them to continue learning for themselves and their future patients.”
“For me, awards like this reaffirm the importance that UIC places on student learning,” Dr. Doubleday said. “By recognizing and supporting the efforts of teachers, UIC is investing in student learning. Awards like this also encourage faculty members to try new teaching methodologies.”
Dr. Afshari and Dr. Doubleday thanked colleagues and students who wrote letters of recommendation, faculty who have inspired them in their careers, and CETL.
“I am also grateful to work at the UIC College of Dentistry alongside my peers and mentors who push me to better myself, and all our students who are sure to keep us faculty on our toes,” Dr. Afshari said.
“It is exciting to know that faculty members can be rewarded for their participation in the many diverse teaching activities within the new DMD curriculum,”
William S. Bike