Talking About Teaching

  • Alex Grieco, Assistant Professor, College of Medicine

    Alex Grieco is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Education and Anatomy, Assistant Professor of Radiology, and Special Assistant to the Vice Dean of Education in the College of Medicine. He teaches Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Lead-Serve Inspire Medical Curriculum in large-group, small-group, and one-on-one settings to the entire medical student body; Concepts in Health, a small group discussion-based course for the undergraduate BMS Program, year 4, for 12 students last Fall; and the new course LGBT Health, a small group discussion-based course for undergraduates years 2-4, for a total of 11 students this Spring.

    Alex received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2016 and has served on the Executive Council since then.

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?

    Enjoy what you are doing, forget the podium, microphone, and white coat — and teaching will be the most natural, joyous, and honorable thing you can ever do.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a teacher? 

    Honestly, too numerous to count—certainly NOT limited to medical, psychology, or education texts.  I would as readily cite Plato’s “The Cave” as “Squires’ Fundamentals of Radiology,” the first ever text in diagnostic imaging geared toward medical students.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer?

    Meet and join your learners where they are!

    Tell us about one of your favorite and most effective in-class activities or assignments. How do your students react?

    Students taking the formal 4-week diagnostic radiology elective find themselves, within moments of our introductions, interpreting “images” by the likes of Homer, Degas, Monet, and Caravaggio.  This is our way of making radiological physics tangible, natural, and relatable.  All of forthcoming discussions (within our daily case conferences) are shaped and scaffolded by this opening opportunity for contribution, communication, and collaboration on our level playing field.

    What tools or opportunities have you found most useful as you have developed your teaching?

    Undoubtedly, the relationships with fellow educators and learners.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? 

    I use as much of my theater training as I do my MRI fellowship training in my daily teaching activities!

  • Marc Ankerman, Senior Lecturer, Fisher College of Business

    Marc Ankerman is a Senior Lecturer in the Fisher College of Business. He teaches MHR 2292 Business for thousands of students, MBA 6281 Professional Communication for 200 students, and MBA 7629 Advanced Comm Skills for 200 students.

     Marc received the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer in 2013 and has served as a member of the Academy of Teaching’s Executive Council since then.

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?

    Passion. It is all about getting the message across, but if you do not believe it, they never will.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a teacher? 

    Everything you ever wanted to know or need to learn you learned in Kindergarten. An old book, that tells it like it is in that you have to be nice and remember the golden rule in all you do.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer?

    Learn them better and have fun doing it!

    Tell us about one of your favorite and most effective in-class activities or assignments. How do your students react?

    Impromptus.  I ask students, “Can you ever be prepared for an impromptu?” What we typically get is a “no” response. I proceed to make them do an impromptu answer to a question or a scenario. After the presentation, I ask the question again.  Well, now they are thinking in a totally different way. And YES, you can be prepared. I then am able to work with their attention and focus (as well as concern that they may be chosen next) for a quick impromptu. They love it and hate it at the same time!

    What tools or opportunities have you found most useful as you have developed your teaching?

    In my background SHRM has a good number of tools and techniques which we often share with one another.  We also use the opportunity in sessions to listen and learn from others who are doing similar sessions with our groups. I do a great deal of coaching, both one on one, and in case competition teams.  This is a great opportunity to challenge students and learn from their push-backs on process and procedure for presentation style and acumen.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? 

    I tend to tell a good number of stories and often say, “You will probably learn way more about me than you ever wanted to,”  so this is a tough question. I am an avid musician and have played the drums since the age of three. I also was an on-air disk jockey at WRIF-FM in Detroit in the beginning of my career.

  • Ben McCorkle, Associate Professor, English

    Ben McCorkle is an Associate Professor of English. He teaches Arts of Persuasion, a lecture with 24 students; Digital Media Composing, a studio with 24 students; and Introduction to Literary Publishing, a seminar/workshop with 8 students.

    Ben received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2014 and has served as a member of the Academy of Teaching’s Executive Council since then.

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?

    Assuming you have your content down, and all of your objectives, goals, and method(s) of assessment clearly figured out, teaching is largely about performance: generating infectious enthusiasm for the material, modeling encouraging and supportive behavior to your students, and basically showing them what it’s like to be an intellectually engaged citizen of the university.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a teacher? 

    Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Paulo Freire)–That book’s a cornerstone for many of us, I’m sure, but it still resonates loudly for me.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer?

    Leave things better than you found them.

    Tell us about one of your favorite and most effective in-class activities or assignments. How do your students react?

    Mock trials are typically fun (we stage trials based on contentious issues raised in course readings from time to time), especially since I have no real legal background, so we all pretty much wing it… and rely on our knowledge gleaned from procedural crime dramas like Law & Order. The class likes the role-playing, they get to dig into the readings in a fun way, and (most important of all), I’m entertained.

    What tools or opportunities have you found most useful as you have developed your teaching?

    As important as I find technology to be, I find informal conversations with colleagues (even those outside of my field—I’m on a regional campus) to be most impactful.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? 

    Despite appearances, I actually take my work very seriously.