The future of biomedical science and the continued competitiveness of this nation on the world stage is in the hands of the students we teach and mentor toward careers as scientists and physicians. My legacy as UT faculty will endure in their skills, discoveries and the students they teach and mentor to continue the cycle. This legacy is likely to far outlast my personal scientific contributions and is enduring. I am grateful to be honored as a member of this Academy.
My philosophy as a teacher can be summarized by a quotation that has been attributed to Confucius:
"Tell me and I will forget, Show me and I may remember, Involve me and I will understand."
I firmly believe that the student needs to take an active role in their education and this has been the guiding principle in my approach to teaching. My children used to dread coming to me with homework questions because they knew that, not only was I not going to just give them the answer, but that I would also give them similar but more complex problems to make sure they understood the concept behind the question. Years later, they now look forward to reviewing homework with me (as an excuse to learn new ways to solve problems).
Over thirty years in the hallways of higher learning have taught me that success in education and mentoring reflects the unselfish transfer of knowledge, skills, experiences, and values without expectation of personal benefit. I sincerely hope that my educational and mentoring activities have enabled students to achieve their career goals and will endure so that they, too, become successful educators and mentors to future generations.
My proudest moment in teaching came in Bologna at a luncheon for a group of faculty and students who had participated in two courses that I created, a History of Anatomy In Situ course that includes a trip to Italy to visit anatomically historical sites and a dissection workshop for Italian medical students held in San Antonio. The Texas faculty and medical students were hosted by the Italian faculty and medical students from the University of Bologna. The friendship that has developed between this international group of faculty and students from the two institutions is exceptionally rewarding.
Being a teacher and a mentor has been one of the cornerstones of my academic career in medicine. I cherish each day in which I can make a positive difference in someone’s academic career in medicine.
My educational philosophy aligns with the philosophy of my professional and personal life. One of the two most rewarding parts of my career is bringing up younger generation through education. The other is the opportunity to pursue research directions that are truly fascinating, exciting and benefiting mankind. I view myself as a teacher, coach, sponsor, and lifetime advocate of my trainees. I love teaching because it is truly rewarding to see our trainees develop scientifically and succeed in their career, just like a mother seeing her children grow and thrive.