Teaching takes the spotlight

Educational Recognition Awards and Last Lecture celebrate excellence in education

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

April 12, 2012

Always heartfelt and often laugh-out-loud funny, William “Jerry” Durbin, MD, gave the Last Lecture at the Educational Recognition Awards ceremony held at UMass Medical School on Tuesday, April 10. Dr. Durbin, professor of pediatrics, earned the honor of presenting the lecture, a venerable tradition in higher education, when he was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching at the Medical School’s Convocation ceremonies last fall.

Chancellor Michael Collins introduced Durbin as “a figure known to all of us as much for his warm and friendly demeanor as for his exceptional clinical and teaching skills.” Durbin shared his five tenets for small group teaching in the clinical setting in his lecture “Teaching on the wards and clinics . . . Where is that disk?” Enhancing his talk with photos and video clips that incorporated past and present medical students and pediatric residents, and even one patient family, Durbin provided specific examples of each tenet: make it personal; engage, challenge and excite; collaborate and practice teamwork; coach and empower learners; and model patient care and teaching.

One anecdote that illustrated how he coaches and empowers learners revealed that the disk being searched for in the title of his lecture was not one for a computer but, rather the eye’s optic disk, and how he helps students master this difficult physical examination technique. He brought to the podium third-year medical student Elise Bognanno and the mother of the family whose toddler she and Durbin had treated, to discuss in their own words the teaching and learning experience they had shared with him. In a voice trembling with emotion, and with tears in his eyes, Durbin closed with acknowledgments of others, including one for “the students and residents who inspire us to learn and to teach.”

Awardees from all three schools at UMass Worcester—the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Graduate School of Nursing—joined Durbin as faculty honored for being exceptional teachers. Several School of Medicine students who served as LInC trustees, and a patient educator, were also recognized for their contributions. “All members of our UMass Worcester community make our institution a leader in so many realms,” said Chancellor Collins. “Today we take the opportunity to recognize individuals who are unwavering in their practice of excellence in education.”

The following Educational Recognition Awards were presented prior to the lecture.

Lamar Soutter Award for Excellence in Education:
Frank J. Domino, MD, and William E. Royer, PhD
Educational Achievement (Star) Award:
LInC Trustees:
Neil Aronin, MD; Robert A. Baldor, MD; Leah Biller, SOM '13; Joel Bradley, SOM '12; John Dickey, MD; Deborah Field, MD; Melissa A. Fischer, MD; Patricia D. Franklin, MD; Susan B. Gagliardi, PhD; David S. Hatem, MD; Pearl Houghteling, SOM '14; Julie A. Jonassen, PhD; Patricia Pringle, SOM '13; Michele P. Pugnaire, MD; Jillian Smith, MD; Thomas W. Smith, MD; Dawn S. Tasillo, MD; and Andrew Walls, SOM '12
ICE Co-Directors: Michael C. Fahey, MD, and Christina H. Hernon, MD
Patient Teacher:
Sharon Goulding

Dean’s Award:
John L. Sullivan, MD, and Raymond M. Welsh, PhD
Faculty Award: Stephenie C. Lemon, PhD; Daniel N. Bolon, PhD; A. J. Marian Walhout, PhD; and Scot Wolfe, PhD

Dean’s Award:
Eileen F. Terrill, PhD, ANP-BC
Distinguished Faculty Award: Kimberly Silver, DNP, MSN, RN; Jill M. Terrien, PhD, APRN-BC; and Carol A. Bova, PhD, RN, ANP

Related links on UMassMedNow:
In Convocation address, Chancellor Collins calls for more support of research funding, honors outstanding faculty