Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2014

Faculty Award winner

Jonathan Decker

 College of Nursing


“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”-Chinese proverb

My teaching philosophy is based upon the belief that students are central to the teaching and learning experience and need to be partners with the teacher in the learning process. My role is to provide the expertise and guidance for the students to develop, at the minimum, competency for entry into the nursing profession. Part of this competency involves the development of critical thinking skills and a lasting desire for life-long learning, which are critical to future success and growth within the profession.

My teaching methods are very interactive. While presentation of the material is important, simple recitation will not always result in learning. During lectures, I often provide examples from my experience in the profession to make the material come alive for my students. I also try to make my lectures very interactive, involving the students in the learning experience.

Another important facet of the learning environment involves the advances in technology available for teaching and learning. The simplest example of this is the use of the internet and web-based discussion boards. These tools allow my students to ask me or their colleagues questions at any time and participate in discussions that they create or I facilitate. Advances in technology have also allowed me to be readily available to my students. I believe that being available to my students, at all times (within reason) is important. Without the student, there is no teacher. Overall, the instructor, student and course content must form a triadic reciprocity, each influencing and being influenced by the others.

In addition, I see my research as an extension of my teaching. Through my research, I provide a living example of life-long learning and critical thinking for my students. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” Personally, research allows me to grow intellectually, professionally and personally.