Program: Surgical Technology
Education/Industry Certifications: Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health, Doane University; Associate of Applied Science degree, Southeast Community College, Lincoln; Certified Surgical Technologist; member of the Association of Surgical Technologists.
Has taught at SCC Since: 2008
Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: Prior to teaching at SCC he worked as a Certified Surgical Technologist for four years at Bryan Health. He also was a member of the Nebraska State Assembly, which is the state level of the Association of Surgical Technologists, where he served on the Board for seven years, including three as state president.
Describe your teaching philosophy.
My teaching philosophy focuses on putting the student in the best situation for them to learn and be successful. The old slogan, 'nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care,' holds true to me. I use many teaching methods, along with humor, to allow the student to learn in a student-driven environment. Every student learns differently, so I try to find what makes each student tick and use that to help them succeed. Some students are visual learners, and some are hands-on learners, so I try to use many teaching methods to engage each student. Surgical technologists need to be highly skilled and motivated individuals to deal with the everyday rigors of the operating room. It is our responsibility to provide the hospitals with a quality work pool. That starts by motivating our students to not only succeed in the classroom, but also have success in life.
Why did you decide to teach at a community college?
The family atmosphere of a community college. In 2004, I was a student at SCC, and it was one of the best experiences. I wanted to give back to the program and college that gave me so much. The instructors in the Surgical Technology program gave me every opportunity to be successful and allowed me to pursue a career in health care. I owe them everything. So when I had the opportunity to become an instructor and give back to the program and school that helped me achieve my goals, I jumped at it.
What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?
When a student enrolls in the Surgical Technology program, they can expect to be greeted by five instructors who care about student success. It truly is a family atmosphere because you will spend the next 15 months learning and working together with your classmates. Surgical technology is a very demanding profession with the greatest rewards. You will be motivated by our staff to reach your potential and not settle for being average. You should expect to leave this program a better student, a qualified and competent surgical technologist, and better person who is ready to succeed in life.
What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?
I have been a coach for more than 20 years, and that experience has helped me become a better teacher. One of my goals as a coach is to find ways to get the most out of my players. Finding what motivates them. Knowing when to push and when to pull back. I think that experience has helped me as an instructor. You have to know what motivates each student and use that to get the most out of them. Just as in sports, every class is different, and you have to adjust based on the personnel.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?
We tell our students that every day is a job interview. Whether in the classroom or clinical, on social media, or out on a Friday night, people are always watching. I also tell students to enjoy the journey. We spend so much time and energy to finish and get out of school that we forget to enjoy the experience along the way. You never forget the time you spent in college, so take a moment and reflect on your accomplishments along the way. Success is never easy, but it is certainly worth it.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?
The coolest part about working with students is to see their eyes when they "get it." That is such a rewarding moment for me. That moment can be different for each student, so it's something new every time.
What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?
The friendships I have built at work over the years are terrific. Not just within the Surgical Technology program, but throughout the College. I enjoy taking walks throughout the campus during my breaks and have gotten to meet lots of faculty. I enjoy getting up in the morning and going to work. There are a lot of people in the world who aren't that fortunate.
What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?
I received a letter from a student after they graduated. It was a personal letter, so I won't share all of the details, but it said how much this student appreciated our program and how they became a better person because of it. Moments like that are special and why I do what I do.
What do you like to do when you're not teaching?
I am a sports fanatic. I love to attend sporting events and check out sporting venues, especially football. I volunteer at Husker football games. I also coach a lot of my children's activities like softball, basketball and football. I also enjoy my garden, and every year I continue the quest of trying to make my lawn look as good as the ones on television. Maybe someday that will happen. I also love to cook. During the summer months, the grill is always on at our house.
What would students be surprised to know about you?
I think the one thing that surprises students most about me is that when I graduated from high school I went to college on a vocal music scholarship. Most people don't believe me when I tell them that.