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Friday, August 7, 2020

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Program trains future educators


Starting in the fall, potential health science educators can now get an expedited doctorate through the UH College of Education.

The executive doctorate for health sciences is a two-year program that will require its participants to go through two years of schooling — fall, winter, spring and summer — along with online classes.

The need for professional instruction on how to be a teacher is greatly needed in the Texas Medical Center, said Bernard Robin, program coordinator for the graduate programs for health science educators in the College of Education. This need was originally addressed in the early 2000s by a master’s program.

“It turns out that there a lot of people working in the Texas Medical Center who find themselves with teaching responsibilities but no experience in how to be a good teacher,” Robin said.

“They have to prepare lectures and they have to decide on curriculum material. They have to do program evaluations. They have to learn how to become teachers, and they’ve never had any experience or any courses that help them with that. So, we decided to start offering a master’s degree that would be specifically tailored toward professionals who are in that position, who work in the Texas Medical Center and want to become better teachers in addition to becoming better nurses or better dentists or better doctors.”

The new doctorate will be mostly face-to-face, while the master’s program will be switched to an online only program, Robin said. Many of these health educators don’t initially see themselves becoming teachers and therefore don’t train in that field, but more and more students are joining the advanced degrees in education due to the increased competition they perceive in the job market.

Robin said that a graduate of the master’s program called the department and told them she was hired at a prestigious hospital on the east coast.

“They told her when they hired her that one of the reasons she was attractive to them was because, in addition to all of her medical training, she also had a master’s degree in education, and they were very focused on designing new programs and delivering new programs,” Robin said.

“The education master’s degree was something that really helped her rise to the top of the applicant pool.”

There are three different programs available for students, Robin said. There is a certificate program aimed at students considering the second and third programs, the online master’s and the doctorate, respectively. The shortage of health care professionals may be mediated by an increase in programs and degrees such as these.

“If you train the people who are going to train the next generation of doctors or nurses or dentists better then maybe their students will do better in school and go on,” Robin said.

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