The 2006 Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching
Weapons of mass destruction, music theory and organic
chemistry aren't subjects that often find themselves
rubbing elbows, but at Johns Hopkins this year, they have
much in common: They garnered prestigious awards for the
professors who impart knowledge about them to students who
clearly appreciate their teachers' classroom talents.
Since 1992, the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association has
annually recognized university faculty who excel in the
art of instruction with its Excellence in Teaching Awards.
The award allows each academic division of the university
to publicly recognize the critical importance of teaching.
The nomination and selection processes differ by school,
but students must be involved in the selection.
The funds provided to each school by the Alumni
Association can be given to one winner, shared by up to
four or attached to another, divisional teaching award;
this year, the amount was $2,000.
The following faculty members are recipients of the
2006 Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Alvaro Muñoz, Epidemiology, small class
Alvaro Muñoz, Public
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
Alvaro Muñoz credits his mother with inspiring
his teaching style. "When I became a new teaching
assistant in the last years of college," he remembers, "I
started worrying about how exactly to teach. My mother
— who was not a teacher herself — was
listening and finally said, 'When you teach, mimic what
you do.' "
That's exactly what Muñoz, a professor of
epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, has
done for the past 15 years in Advanced Methods for Design
and Analysis of Cohort Studies, the course for which he's
just been awarded a 2006 Golden Apple, as the award is
called in the school.
"In this course, we want our students to mimic the
way researchers really write a paper," Muñoz says.
The students in AMDACS work in teams, as actual scientists
do, and they must craft a methods section and a results
section of a real scientific manuscript. In this way, the
students learn early on how to put together a scientific
paper, so they can do it themselves when they become
involved with cohort studies.
Moreover, the students are working with real data
sets that Muñoz and his research team have gleaned
from the studies with which they are directly involved.
"The key, of course, is that we bridge research and
teaching," Muñoz says.
Each two-hour AMDACS class is divided into two
segments: First, the professor delivers a
one-and-a-half-hour lecture, then two students talk for 15
minutes each about what they've been doing on their
manuscripts. Those students in the audience serve as
reviewers, critiquing their classmates' presentations
— again, just like bona fide researchers: "Why not
try such-and-such?" "That's not right; what about this?"
And since they're working with genuine data, the students
sometimes pose new questions that eventually germinate new
AMDACS and its teacher have thrilled Sufia S.
Dadabhai, a Ph.D. candidate in epidemiology and a research
assistant at the school's Center for Communication
Programs. "More than any professor I've ever had, Dr.
Muñoz really sees us as the next generation of
scientists, and this, I think, motivates him to teach us
skills in a way that we will actually be able to go out
Her classmate, Chanelle Howe, a doctoral
pre-candidate, stresses her professor's dedication. "A
testament to Dr. Muñoz's commitment is the fact
that, throughout AMDACS, he spent countless hours outside
of class helping students to solidify concepts discussed
in lecture, develop research questions for the final
project and debug difficult statistical code."
Finally, no profile of Alvaro Muñoz would be
complete without mention of his wit. As Dadabhai says, "He
is hysterical. He had his students in fits of laughter at
times — in a research methods class, which is not an
easy task." (When asked by a visitor, "... and this Golden
Apple is for the small-group category, right?"
Muñoz fires back, "Well, I'm a small guy!"). As
small as the AMDACS class is, Muñoz stresses that
the joint efforts of colleagues Haitao Chu, Chris Cox,
Stephen Cole and Stephen Gange are necessary to bring the
research into the classroom.
Orin Levine, an associate professor in International
Health, recalls that the paper he wrote for Muñoz's
course got a B+ — and a brief note from
Muñoz: "Needs more salsa, Maestro!" Says Levine,
"That's the best comment I ever received at this
— Rod Graham
Jonathan Links, Environmental Health Sciences, medium
Jonathan Links, Public
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
If the eyes are said to be a window into the soul,
then one's office could also be said to give a glimpse
into the mind. Walking into Jonathan Links' office, you
immediately notice the piles of labeled manila files
neatly organized along his desk, the coffee cups on his
window sill that are almost perfectly aligned by height
and the multiple radiation and toxicology books on his
shelves. But you can't help but see the one book that
doesn't quite fit in — The Dilbert Principle. Links,
who is extremely dedicated to his work, also has a fun
side. He admits that he is an oddball at Johns Hopkins,
but explains, "I have a lot of energy. I do things fast,
and I'm very efficient."
Links, who is director of the Bloomberg School's
Center for Public Health Preparedness, received his first
Golden Apple this year for teaching Terrorism and Public
Health. He says that the secret to successful teaching is
that "you have to absolutely love the material and love
Terrorism and Public Health covers weapons of mass
destruction and how to prepare for and respond to
terrorist attacks. It also covers natural disasters and
man-made accidents because many of the principles of
terrorism preparedness and response apply to these events
as well. The final exam for the course is quirky and not
what you might expect for a graduate-level public health
course: Write a news release that covers the opening hours
of a terrorist event.
"The students think they are coming into a course
just to learn about dirty bombs, chemical weapon releases
and other terrorism-related events, but really we teach
them concepts that apply to any disaster. We especially
emphasize the psychological and social aspects, so
communication to the public is an important aspect of the
course," Links explains.
A professor in the Department of Environmental Health
Sciences, Links also finds time to act as Baltimore City's
expert on radiation, working with the city's health, fire
and police departments on preparedness plans. With such an
interest in current happenings, it is no wonder his
students praise the up-to-the-minute flavor of his
"Johns Hopkins sets the bar high in terms of faculty
performance, and I found Dr. Links to have extensive
academic and practical public health experience," says
Robert Boucher, a student in Links' most recent Terrorism
and Public Health class. "He makes a concerted effort to
be up-to-date and thorough when teaching a class. As a
mid-career student, I appreciated how informed he was and
especially how he was respectful of the various points of
view expressed by students."
Although this is Links' first Golden Apple, he has
received four Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition
Awards since he began teaching at the Bloomberg School in
1983. He acknowledges that being included with the other
Bloomberg School Golden Apple awardees was an honor. "I
didn't magically know how to be a good teacher," he says.
"I learned by observing the fantastic teachers here. I
still aspire to be like them."
— Kenna L. Lowe
Scott Zeger, Biostatistics, large class
Scott Zeger, Public
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
When the votes for this year's Golden Apple teaching
award were tabulated, the numbers added up in Scott
Zeger's favor. He is the 2006 winner in the large class
category for Statistical Methods in Public Health, an
introductory course that teaches students to understand
and conduct biostatistical analyses of public health
problems. As the Frank Hurley and Catharine Dorrier
Professor in Biostatistics and chair of the Department of
Biostatistics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health,
Zeger knows numbers. Here are some to consider:
3: Zeger has received the Golden Apple three
times. His other awards came in 1987 and 2002.
4: Over the past five years, four instructors
were honored with the Golden Apple for teaching
Statistical Methods in Public Health. Following Zeger's
award in 2002, James Tonascia, also a professor in the
Department of Biostatistics, received the honor in 2003.
Marie Diener-West, the Abbey-Merrell Professor of
Biostatistics Education, won the Golden Apple in 2005, her
fifth overall. Zeger and Diener-West split duties teaching
terms one to three of the course; Tonascia teaches the
"Teaching this course is very much a team effort,"
Zeger says. "I think the students gave me the award this
time because they felt the course was excellent —
Marie and the TAs made that so."
12: A complex and demanding course like
Statistical Methods in Public Health takes an incredible
amount of time and planning. To pull it off, the
professors rely on a team of 12 teaching assistants. The
course also has its own Web master, Michele Donithan, who
manages the online portions of the class, which include
downloadable versions of Zeger's, Diener-West's and
34: To assist students, Zeger and his
fellow professors and teaching assistants make themselves
available to students up to 34 hours a week.
380: Three hundred eighty students take
Statistical Methods in Public Health each session. The
course attracts students from all degree programs and from
every discipline throughout the Bloomberg School. Zeger
describes the course as a basic introduction to
biostatistics that teaches students how to interpret
biostatistical information and perform and present their
own biostatistical analyses.
10: Every 10 days students are given a
public health problem to solve using a data set. "The
course is taught with an eye towards making the students
useful," Zeger says. "It is taught in a way to help
students learn skills so they can conduct their own data
Ming-Wen An, a senior teaching assistant for the
course, says Zeger and the other professors are always
trying to push the boundaries with their teaching to "take
it up a level" by creating the best learning
For example, Zeger says, students were asked to
examine how body mass index measurements of the
populations had changed over the past several years using
data developed through taking an in-class health survey.
Students have also analyzed the cost of medical procedures
and the survival of children in Nepal using other existing
20: The students who write the best
analysis for each project win a $20 gift certificate to
Nacho Mama's. The coveted prize is a long-standing
tradition of the course. This year, the students treated
Zeger and Diener-West and their spouses to dinner at the
popular Baltimore restaurant.
88: The faculty of the Department of
Biostatistics has been teaching students for the past 88
years. The department was established as one of the
world's first academic departments of statistical science.
Zeger notes that the School of Public Health has a long
tradition of excellent teaching of quantitative analysis
to its students, dating back to Lowell Reed, Margaret
Merrill and Helen Abbey.
"One of the department's most important functions is
to teach biostatistics ideas and methods to students
throughout the school," Zeger says. "Providing students
with quantitative skills gives them a leg up in their
Peter Winch, International Health, Internet
Peter Winch, Public
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
For Peter Winch, the live talks in his online course
Introduction to International Health can be a "bit of a
His students are at computer keyboards scattered
across the globe, while Winch is in front of a microphone
in the Bloomberg School of Public Health's multimedia
studio. To cover the points in his talk, he works at a
fast pace, stopping frequently to field students' e-mailed
questions. By the end of the hourlong session, Winch is,
quite frankly, pooped.
"It's very tiring because everybody's asking
questions all at once, and you're trying to respond, and
that may also involve looking something up," he says.
"There's a lot to do."
Apparently the multitasking works. Winch, an
associate professor in International Health, received the
first Golden Apple for Best Internet Course, a new
category in the annual teaching awards sponsored by the
Student Assembly to reflect the school's growing number of
online course offerings.
"It's a big honor to get a Golden Apple at all
because the competition is so intense," says Winch, who
twice received the Student Assembly's Advising, Mentoring
and Teaching Recognition Award, in 1993 and 1999.
On the faculty since 1988, Winch first taught
Introduction to International Health online in 2003. The
course — on the Internet and in the classroom
— aims to introduce students to approaches used by
various countries in solving health problems and to the
role of international health organizations. A student's
final grade is based mainly on a two-part assignment in
which students first do a health assessment on a country
of their choice. Winch then asks them to imagine they have
$5 million to develop a plan to improve the country's
"Students take this course to learn something about
the topic, but they also want to get linked into the world
of international health," he says. "They want to get
involved in work, but they don't know where to start."
That description applied to MSN/MPH candidate Annika
Hawkins when she took Winch's Internet course last spring.
"The projects that he developed were incredibly effective
at teaching us how to do research and synthesize it to
come up with an assessment of a country's health," says
Hawkins, who researched Haiti. "We were learning it by
This spring term Winch's online classroom of 65
included students from Asia, Europe, Africa and Canada as
well as the Baltimore-Washington area. Although they may
be downloading his pre-recorded lectures thousands of
miles away, students are able to access course features
designed to bridge the distance gap. They can post
comments and questions to an online bulletin board system,
and an online class roster includes student profiles and
Winch said he "encourages or cajoles" students with
similar interests to communicate with each other. And in
the next couple of months, a technology upgrade will allow
the school's Internet students to talk to instructors in
real time during live talks by using headset microphones
that attach to their computers.
Despite the physical separation of teacher and
student in an online format, Winch made a strong
impression on Hawkins. The course assignments, and Winch's
comments on her papers, not only contributed to Hawkins'
decision to travel to Haiti last winter to provide primary
care services in mountain villages but encouraged her to
pursue a career in international health. "He was able to
generate such interest in the subject and be so
inspiring," she says. "It speaks powerfully to his ability
as a teacher because he didn't have that face-to-face
piece to work with."
— Jackie Powder
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences
David Klein, Chemistry
David Klein, Arts and
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
When David Klein arrived at Johns Hopkins in the fall
of 1991, he had no idea what he wanted to study or what
career path he ultimately would take.
"I knew only that I liked science. That's about it,"
That all changed during his sophomore year, when the
Houston native found himself sitting absolutely spellbound
in an organic chemistry class taught by Lawrence Principe,
now a professor in the Department of the History of
Science and Technology.
"I was just fascinated and found myself looking
forward to each and every class," says Klein. "I realized
that I had found what I wanted to do and to be. I wanted
to be like Professor Principe and teach organic chemistry
at a place like Johns Hopkins."
The rest, as they say, is history. Not only is Klein
a senior lecturer teaching organic chemistry to premedical
students and other undergraduates through the Krieger
School's Department of Chemistry, but his Excellence in
Teaching Award is proof positive that he also has
succeeded in his quest to be an effective, dynamic
"Teaching is what I am all about, and getting this
award is a wonderful honor because it tells me I am on the
right track," Klein says. "I love being in front of the
students and talking about organic chemistry and getting
them as excited about it as I was all those years ago, in
Klein uses frequent jokes, anecdotes and even stories
about his growing family (his wife just gave birth to
their fifth child) to "keep my students laughing and
interested." He also prides himself on being able to
concoct clever analogies that help his students understand
complex organic chemistry concepts.
The approach works, students say.
"He makes the material — which can be
overwhelming in its entirety — very manageable and
understandable," commented one student. "His lectures were
succinct and extremely coherent. Everyone I have spoken to
got something out of the class."
Another reported that "organic chemistry is dreaded
by premedical students everywhere. Dr. Klein makes
learning organic chemistry a positive and rewarding
Klein's passion for explaining his favorite subject
to students also prompted him to write a supplemental text
titled Organic Chemistry as a Second Language: Translating
the Basic Concepts. Published by Wiley Publishing, the
book currently is in use by students at 100
Klein said his goal in writing the text was to help
even nonscientists "become fluent in organic
Klein often refers to teaching as "his great
passion," and his students have proved that his passion is
— Lisa De Nike
Trina Schroer, Biology
Tina Schroer, Arts and
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
Ask Trina Schroer what she values most about teaching
Johns Hopkins undergraduates, and she doesn't hesitate a
"I feel truly privileged to have the opportunity to
educate young people of whom a subset will clearly be the
leaders of tomorrow," says the professor in the Krieger
School's Department of Biology. "To know that they will
remember things they learned in my courses forever, just
as I still remember some of the things I learned in
college, means a lot to me."
Coming from a professor who is known for her
frankness and "telling it like it is," such praise means a
great deal. Schroer, who came to Johns Hopkins in 1990,
has taught literally thousands of undergraduates over the
last 16 years but prides herself on keeping her material
— and attitude — fresh and new.
"I don't really have a philosophy of teaching other
than truly wanting my students to understand and to
learn," she says. "It is more important to me that they
comprehend and absorb fundamental concepts about how the
system works rather than just memorizing petty details. I
think learning should be about building a framework upon
which details can be hung. My goal is to equip my students
with enough key fundamental facts that they can work out
the details later from first principles, if necessary."
Schroer teaches Cell Biology, plus a course on AIDS
and two graduate level courses. Her ability to impart
complex information in a clear and simple way is her best
asset as an instructor, she says.
"I use the simplest words possible and no specialty
terms unless I have clearly defined them," she says. "When
I use an acronym or a word with a foreign word root, I
always provide the full phrase and/or the roots. I also
use analogies to commonplace objects and behaviors a lot,
and I try to get feedback from my audience to make sure
they are getting it."
The students say that Schroer's approach works.
"With Dr. Schroer teaching, the concepts were complex
and the intensity high, but it never felt confusing or
overwhelming, thanks to her unique ability to explain even
the most complicated of scientific methods or mechanisms,"
one student reported.
Another stated that "in an environment where research
is emphasized, she is the first to remind us that the best
researchers are also exceptional teachers. She is an
amazing teacher. She inspires me to become a professional,
have high standards and to think."
Schroer finds such praise gratifying because she
considers her role as a teacher almost a sacred trust.
"I feel that teaching is a very important part of my
mission here," she says. "As I tell my daughter, I really
have two jobs: one as a college professor and the other as
the head of a research lab. I will admit that it is
extremely challenging to juggle — let alone fulfill!
— all the expectations that the university places on
me. But I do my best."
—L. D. N.
Paul Mathews, Music Theory
Paul Mathews, Peabody
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
Paul Mathews is known as a bit of a jokester, which
helps him engage students in the somewhat challenging
subjects of Music Theory and Orchestration. In the large
pile of nominations for this year's Excellence in Teaching
Award, one student commented that Mathews "casts the
material in such a hilarious way that the knowledge will
never leave you — because the joke never will."
Mathews has been a member of the Peabody Conservatory
faculty since the fall of 1998, the same year he received
his doctorate of musical arts in composition from Peabody.
In addition to teaching graduate courses in Music Theory
and Orchestration, Mathews serves the greater good of
Peabody through numerous committee and administrative
roles. He has served as chair of the Music Theory
Department, was the music theory curriculum consultant for
the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of the National University
of Singapore, co-chaired the D.M.A. Committee and served
on the Academic Council, the Steering Committee for
Information Services and on seven search committees over
the last five years. He is currently director of the
Peabody Institute at Homewood, administering the music
minor for the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Students as well as colleagues commented over and
over again on how organized, clear and extremely
knowledgeable Mathews is in multiple areas. "Without
hesitation, I can say that Dr. Mathews is not only the
best theory instructor with whom I've studied but also one
of the best educators I've ever encountered," one student
Another colleague and former pupil commented on
Mathews' service to Peabody above and beyond his teaching
obligations. When Mathews noted the need for a new theory
course, he created it himself for the next academic year.
"When Paul sees a way to improve the students' education,
he devotes his energies to make it a reality, regardless
of his many other obligations."
Mathews extends that creativity and zest into his
roles within the Baltimore cultural community. He is an
artistic director of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival
and has been a member of the Maryland State Arts Council.
He is currently working on two books —
Orchestration: An Anthology of Writings, to be published
by Routledge later this year, and, in collaboration with
Peabody Voice Department faculty member Phyllis
Bryn-Julson, a book about Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot
Somehow he manages to be "the sage on the stage" as
well as the "guide on the side," students say, and his
performance in class is judged to be "better than improv
theater." Mathews' "wit and humor add to the educational
experience," and his commitment to growth as a music
professional enables him to teach with fresh excitement
year after year.
— Kirsten Lavin and Wolfgang Justen
To be announced at diploma ceremony.
School of Medicine
John Flynn, Medicine
John Flynn, Medicine
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
To say that John Flynn, the D. William Schlott, M.D.,
Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of
Medicine, is a hands-on guy just couldn't be a truer
As his Hopkins training came to a close in the early
'90s, Flynn briefly considered searching for an academic
job elsewhere. But he was offered a position at Hopkins
that he could not refuse.
A traditional faculty position at Hopkins would
primarily mean research hours spent behind a desk or at
the bench, rather than interacting with patients. And
students. It turns out he had developed not only a love
for patient care but for teaching, too.
So he was given the charge to create a core group of
"clinician educators," doctors who would teach medical
residents and students while practicing medicine in the
exam rooms of outpatient clinics more often than from the
"At the time, this concept was pretty unique," says
Flynn, who holds an M.B.A. as well as his M.D. and
maintains joint appointments in Rheumatology, the
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the
School of Nursing. "Many forecasted our demise."
The program he helped found was hardly a doomed
notion. The original group of three clinician educators
grew to a staff of 20. And the hospitalist program,
developed with his leadership, "increased in size to
A decade after his arrival at Hopkins, Flynn's
influence on students was apparent. As a new faculty
member in 1996, Stephen Sisson shared Flynn's belief: that
teaching in an outpatient clinical setting offers learners
patient care skills and insight into an array of ailments
they simply would not experience from a traditional
hospital-based training program. Sisson wanted to create
an online training curriculum that could be used by other
institutions to educate young physicians in outpatient
Like his more senior colleague had 10 years earlier,
Sisson encountered some institutional resistance. But he
found a friend in Flynn.
"John was very protective of my academic time,"
Sisson says. "He saw the value in creating a Web-based
world-class curriculum in outpatient medicine, and he was
able to steer gift money toward my academic efforts."
Today, thanks to Flynn's support, 60 residency
programs around the country are using Sisson's online
curriculum. And, inside Johns Hopkins, his hands-on
approach to patients and teaching continues to inspire a
still younger generation of doctors.
Chris Frank, a third-year medical student, took an
elective taught by Flynn: the Advanced Ambulatory Clinical
Clerkship in Musculoskeletal Medicine. Frank said he was
drawn to the course because it emphasized physical exam
skills, which he believes are a dying art in the days of
scanners and other advanced imaging devices. On a national
level, Flynn has been recognized and supported for this
work by the American College of Rheumatology with its
prestigious Clinician-Scholar-Educator Award.
Ultimately Frank found the character of his
instructor to be as compelling as the content of the
"He treats students very much like colleagues," says
Frank, who hopes to use the exam skills Flynn has taught
him in a planned career in family medicine. "He always
gives you the opportunity to say what you are thinking and
clearly hasn't bought into medicine's strict hierarchical
When Frederick Brancati, director of the Division of
Internal Medicine, began looking for someone to nominate
for the teaching award, his desk was soon strewn with
letters of praise and complimentary notes about Flynn, as
both a doctor and an educator.
"Organizing the spiritual underpinnings of the
culture" is the phrase Brancati uses to describe how
instrumental Flynn has been in infusing his students with
passion and positive morale during their educational
journeys. That, and the fact that he has managed to "carry
on his back for 15 years" an outpatient educational
program that has sometimes struggled with "modest
resources" but persevered nonetheless, is yet another
reason why Brancati nominated Flynn for the Excellence in
"A lot of what he has built, he has done so quietly
behind the scenes," Brancati adds. "He is not the guy in
the limelight. He is the naturally quiet guy who makes
everyone else look better.
— Jeff Ventura
School of Nursing
Kathleen White, graduate level
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
Through her teaching and guidance, Kathleen White
shows immense dedication to both the academic and career
development of her students. "Lecture experiences with Dr.
White have been intellectually stimulating and inspiring
encounters," noted one student. "Her personal career,
academic experiences and involvement in nursing, health
care management and policy, as well as health system
improvement, have created career and nursing pathways for
her students to follow."
White has high expectations of the students she
teaches and says she admires the perception of students
who ask questions based on the understanding of concepts
taught in class. "I can always ask those questions myself,
but I get excited when they come from the students because
they are making the connections that I want them to make."
Her philosophy as an educator, she says, is to create
a challenging class environment. She is known for
assigning readings that are not always the traditional
nursing readings but get the students thinking about
health care in different ways. "My teaching style is to
involve the students in some type of integrative exercise
about the material and have questions and discussion."
Always looking for more opportunities, White
constantly seeks to learn more about students' interests
and to provide career mentorship. "The most important
piece of advice I can give new nurses is to get involved
in the profession. Don't sit by and let others make the
decisions for you," White says. "I encourage my students
to be members of professional organizations and to know
the issues facing the profession."
White received her doctorate in health policy in 1995
from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and
holds a certification as a Certified Nursing
Administrator, Advanced from the American Nurses
— Ron Supan
Nancy Woods, baccalaureate level
Nancy Woods, Nursing
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
According to her baccalaureate students, Nancy Woods'
excitement for teaching is exhibited by her energy level
and effective teaching methods. "She has gained the
respect of all her students, and the enthusiasm she
conveys for the nursing profession is inspiring," says one
Woods says she believes teaching is both a privilege
and a responsibility. She praises all her students as a
remarkable group of adults who bring to the classroom a
wealth of diversity in education, past experience and
culture. "It is also an awesome responsibility recognizing
that we, as educators, lay the foundation for their
professional careers. And in these days of the nursing
shortage, I also feel a personal responsibility to the
profession to contribute to a solution to this crisis."
One key aspect of Woods' teaching style is how she
continually finds new ways to incorporate interesting
themes into the classes she teaches. "I try to be creative
with presentations and lectures," Woods says. "We utilize
a variety of modalities." Assignments include performing
skits based on TV shows (American Idol goes to Labor and
Delivery; CSI: OB Triage; Deal or No Deal for research)
and real-life simulations (poster, podium or manuscript
presentations as would be required for professional
presentations at conferences). Woods wants her students
to love learning and to carry this through their
professional careers. Many of her students, current and
past, look to her as a role model and seek her
encouragement and guidance.
Teaching allows Woods to blend her interests in
nursing research and professional practice as a certified
nurse-midwife in a way that reaches into the future. "We
touch not only our students' lives but also the lives of
countless patients they will care for during their
careers, as well as contributing to the profession as a
whole," she says. "Teaching at the Johns Hopkins
University School of Nursing is exciting, invigorating and
challenging. I can't imagine being any happier."
Woods urges all prospective nursing students to
consider applying to Johns Hopkins. "Nursing is the
greatest profession," she says. "You will touch so many
lives. You will impact your patients, their families, your
colleagues and co-workers. Often, you will never know the
strength of your impact. But you will touch the future,
and you will change the world!"
Nancy Woods received her doctorate from the Johns
Hopkins University School of Nursing in 2004 and is
coordinator of the baccalaureate Nursing the Childbearing
Family course and the Research Process in Nursing
School of Professional Studies in Business
Michael Kubik, Division of Undergraduate
Michael Kubik, SPSBE
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
After earning his M.B.A. from SPSBE in 2000, Michael
Kubik was challenged by one of the school's career
counselors. "I remember being asked, 'Where do you see
yourself in five years?'" says Kubik, an assistant vice
president at T. Rowe Price who has worked as an investment
analyst for the past 10 years. "I knew then that, as an
adjunct to my career, I wanted to teach."
Kubik teaches Financial Statement Analysis, Business
Development and several graduate-level courses for SPSBE,
including Business Transitions and Business Planning and
Operations. While the subject matter may appear dry at
times, he enhances his teaching with real-life examples,
issues and trends within the business world.
"It's analogous to the movie and entertainment
industry," Kubik explains. "I'm trying to battle for a
share of my students' minds. I want to engage them, along
with their other responsibilities. They know all about the
'media' available and will 'change the channel' if a
professor loses their interest. The consumer always has
In his Business Development class, Kubik invites a
panel of professionals including CEOs of start-ups,
portfolio managers, tax accountants and others to judge
his students' entrepreneurial ideas. "I encourage my
students to generate that initial spark of creativity. I
tell them to interview entrepreneurs [and] read the best
books on the subject, including Art of the Start, as well
as case studies and articles on local businesses making
good. I want them to understand that there are different
ways to recognize successful patterns and best practices
of emerging businesses."
Kubik puts much of that self-starting philosophy into
his own job. One of his duties is to write recommendations
for the investments offered by T. Rowe Price, in addition
to conducting extensive research on mutual funds. "In
essence, I'm defending my company's investment thesis," he
"I like to think that my efforts, inside the
classroom and out, focus on how to build a community, by
engaging people in lively debate, looking at business and
industry in new, progressive ways. I look at the big
His can-do attitude extends to his personal life as
well. He recently received T. Rowe Price's Volunteer
Recognition Award for his work at Baltimore's Ronald
McDonald House. Before that, Kubik was involved with
Grant-a-Wish. He also is an ongoing participant in the
work of Catholic Charities.
"Mike brings to the classroom much more than his
professional knowledge and ability to teach," says John
Baker, director of Technology and Business programs for
the Division of Undergraduate Studies and an instructor
within the division. "He brings passion, care and a
willingness to learn himself. He is always looking to
improve what he brings to his students, and finding better
ways to help them learn."
— Andy Blumberg
Anne Lauer, Graduate Division of
Anne Lauer, SPSBE
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
For Anne Lauer, teaching for SPSBE was, in a sense,
"coming home." The retired government analyst and manager
in the nation's intelligence community received her master
of science in marketing degree from the school in 1997,
complementing a first master's degree, in English
literature from Georgetown.
Today, besides her SPSBE teaching duties, Lauer works
as an independent consultant in adult education, with her
client roster encompassing a number of government
organizations and private groups.
Several years after her SPSBE graduation, Lauer, who
was helping with testimonials for the marketing degree,
was approached by the program's interim director, Kathy
Wilson, about becoming a practitioner faculty member. In
2000, she started teaching one of the program's core
courses, Consumer Behavior Analysis. Shortly thereafter,
she became an instructor in two additional program
offerings, International Marketing and Marketing of
In particular, Lauer enjoys teaching International
Marketing, since much of the subject matter touches on her
professional experience. "As globalization has set in, the
issues raised in the course become more and more
relevant," she says. "For example, it's hard to define
what a U.S. company truly is anymore. How do you classify
a Japanese car company that is building its product in the
state of Kentucky, among other U.S. locations?"
Another theme Lauer stresses to her students is the
changing way U.S. companies compete and align themselves,
and the new risks and opportunities they therefore face in
the wake of 9/11.
"I love to push my students and see the attendant
results," Lauer says. "I've found that I learn so much
from all of them in the process. I've had such a rich mix
of all kinds of folks with different experiences in their
professional and personal lives, as well as the richness
our international students bring to class.
"I want our students to be as passionate about
learning as I am about teaching," Lauer adds. "I don't
want anybody to have the option of not learning a lot."
One of Lauer's favorite stories concerns a student,
seemingly indifferent to the course material, who was
about to start his final paper on an international
marketing subject. "I asked him what he was passionate
about, and he replied, 'Soccer,'" she remembers. "So I
recommended that he do his paper on the international
soccer industry. He did, and the thoroughness of his
research landed him a job in the industry. I find out what
motivates my students to learn and add that to their
Pete Petersen, professor of management in the
Graduate Division of Business and the division's original
director, says of Lauer, "Anne is a real live wire,
absolutely dedicated to teaching and to her students. She
endeavors to make learning an adventure and to help her
students in any way that she can."
Carol Ann Baglin, Graduate Division of
Carol Ann Baglin,
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
Carol Ann Baglin's SPSBE roots run deep. Her father
graduated from the school when it was known as McCoy
College, back in the 1960s. He believed in advanced
education so strongly, and SPSBE in particular, that he
paid for her doctor of education degree, which she
received from SPSBE in 2001. Meanwhile, though, her
teaching career had already begun.
"I was in the doctoral program, and one of the
instructors was taking a sabbatical," she recalls. "He
asked that I teach his Legal Aspects and Issues in Special
Education class for him, since my 'real job' was basically
about these issues."
Baglin's "real job" is as assistant state
superintendent, Division of Special Education/Early
Intervention Services, for the Maryland public school
system. She administers and supervises special education
and early intervention programs throughout the state,
making sure such programs are in compliance with both
Maryland and federal laws and codes. Among her varied
duties, Baglin coordinates program funding from the
federal to the local level, manages medical assistance
reimbursement for school services and sets foster care
rates for group homes.
She also works with local school systems for
non-public school placements, if the public school in
question can't handle the special needs of a particular
Baglin, who teaches three courses — Legal
Aspects, Collaborative Programming for Parents of Children
With Disabilities and Development of the Young Child With
Disabilities — sees her SPSBE teaching function as a
direct link to performing her job. "[The teaching] is an
important reason why I am able to continue in my role as
assistant state superintendent," she says. "In my classes,
I have ongoing contact with special educators who are
engaged each and every day in implementing the policies
and regulations enacted by Congress, the federal
Department of Education and the state Department of
Education. It helps me to keep current in the field and
translate and put into practice ideas discussed with my
Baglin's position also lets her bring in state
experts to help teach special aspects of her courses. "I
feel that this is a real asset to my students, but then
they give me so much to bring back to my job. I can bring
this feedback to my department and in so doing help gauge
what is needed in the field."
Satisfaction also plays a key element in Baglin's
continuing in the classroom. "I derive a great deal of
satisfaction in finding out what students know coming into
the class, what they hope to get out of class for the
future, what their long-term goals are. I also enjoy the
fact that I get to instruct a very diverse student body,
including career changers and experienced teachers looking
to move into the field of special educa-tion, plus those
updating their certification."
Jackie Nunn, director of SPSBE's Center for
Technology in Education and a frequent collaborator with
Baglin, says of her colleague, "Carol brings a wealth of
knowledge and in-depth experience to her classes. She is a
seasoned educator and leader in her field, and her
students all benefit greatly because of that."
David Mitchell, Division of Public Safety
David Mitchell, SPSBE
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
When asked to describe how he feels about the
teaching dynamic, David Mitchell quotes a line from a
popular movie of a few years ago, I Am Sam. "I think I'm
getting more out of this relationship than I'm putting
in," he says.
Mitchell, who received a master's degree in public
policy from the University of Maryland in 1986, started
teaching for SPSBE's Division of Public Safety Leadership
in its Police Executive Leadership Program in 1994, the
program's first year of existence. Today, he teaches
Crisis Management and Communications and team teaches the
program's capstone project with another faculty associate,
Mitchell is well-versed in the subject matter he
shares with his students. He was appointed secretary of
the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security in
May 2004, after a long and distinguished career in law
enforcement that saw him as chief of police in Prince
Georges County, Md., from 1991 to 1995, and superintendent
of the Maryland State Police from 1995 to 2003.
In his present position, Mitchell takes what he calls
an "all hazards approach" to homeland security, constantly
monitoring and evaluating potential danger. "Terrorism and
natural disasters are a constantly moving threat," he
explains. "For example, the National Weather Service
predicts another unusually active hurricane season with
even more of an impact on the East Coast of the United
States than last year. Then there is the H5N1 avian flu
threat. There are 110 million chickens on the Delmarva
Peninsula every day, with Sussex County the largest
poultry-producing county in the United States. We have to
be keenly aware of that."
Delaware, Mitchell says, may be small in size but is
huge in infrastructure, with the port of Wilmington, Dover
Air Force Base, chemical plants, major bank headquarters,
a thriving poultry industry and some of the most popular
beaches in the country. It is also, he adds, "within the
plume of three nuclear power plants."
From the federal government on down to state and
local jurisdictions, in addition to businesses of all
sizes, "everyone needs a security and disaster response
plan in place," he emphasizes.
Mitchell describes as "so rewarding" the teaching of
law enforcement, fire and emergency management
professionals carefully selected for the program. "I get
to see students apply lessons learned in a real-time
setting in ways that demonstrate their time and my time
have been a worthwhile investment," he says. "They use the
course methods and models with success. They acquire the
knowledge and tools needed to avert a crisis, or to employ
pre-disaster mitigation if a crisis cannot be averted."
Doug Ward, deputy director of Public Safety
Leadership, says, "David Mitchell is one of only a handful
of truly inspirational national public safety leaders. He
has dedicated his entire adult life to serving others.
Through his excellent teaching, our students are
immediately able to employ David's wisdom in their own
organizations. David's teaching style, knowledge and
selfless dedication to our students are tremendous
contributions to the success of our program."
Whiting School of Engineering
Jeffrey Gray, Chemical and Biomolecular
Photo by Will Kirk/HIPS
When Jeffrey Gray joined the Whiting School faculty
in 2002, his department was undergoing a change of name
and focus, and he was asked to revamp and teach a required
course for seniors. The Department of Chemical Engineering
had just become the Department of Chemical and
Biomolecular Engineering, and Gray needed to reconfigure a
classic course on how chemical plants work to include
biological models as well.
Gray's course tinkering over the past four years and
his unflagging efforts to guide students through this
demanding subject have paid off. This spring he was
singled out for the Alumni Association Excellence in
Teaching Award in the School of Engineering.
"His dedication and genuine concern for the students
is an unparalleled quality that every professor should
possess," one student wrote in support of the honor. "Dr.
Gray utilized things like group projects, labs,
presentations and class sections with guest speakers in
order to have his students get firsthand experience in
learning the material."
A fellow faculty member added, "Without hesitation I
would say that Jeff is the person most of my colleagues
would ask for advice/opinions when a teaching issue is at
Gray is an assistant professor whose research focuses
on protein modeling and the study of therapeutic
antibodies that may someday be used to treat cancer.
He usually works from home in the morning to focus on
his research. Most afternoons, he's in his Homewood office
and lab, handling a steady stream of questions and project
concerns from undergraduates and graduate students. "Some
afternoons, I get nothing accomplished on my own
research," Gray says, "but I have a great time,"
He adds, "Teaching takes a lot of time, and sometimes
I find myself resenting all the time it takes. But I love
doing it. It's a crucial function of what we do at this
university, to empower the students to build their own
body of knowledge and to improve their ability to solve
In the undergraduate course he's been reconfiguring,
now dubbed Modeling, Dynamics and Control of Chemical and
Biological Systems, Gray tries to avoid long, dry
lectures. Instead, he stops every 10 or 15 minutes to
break the students into small groups, then asks them to
solve problems based on the material he's just presented.
Gray walks among the groups, offering assistance.
"I want the students to be active and thinking in
class," he says. "The key is getting students interested
in their own learning."
Beyond his work with Hopkins students, Gray is a
board member of the Ingenuity Project, which helps
Baltimore City public school students achieve at
nationally competitive levels in mathematics and science.
Through this project, Gray mentored Ryan Harrison, a
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute student who was recognized
as one of the nation's top high school science scholars in
a prestigious competition last year. Harrison, who
enrolled at Johns Hopkins last fall through the Baltimore
Scholars program, just finished his freshman year as a
biomedical engineering major and continues to work in
"This is all fun stuff," Gray said, "so I make time
— Phil Sneiderman
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