Jim Cronmiller



Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is my primary goal at Monroe Community College and all other activities including research, professional development and committee work revolve around this priority. My teaching philosophy, strategies and techniques are the following:

Adhere to Curriculum
I follow the agreed upon curriculum including textbook and laboratory manual. I ensure that lecture and laboratory content including exams meet the goals of each course and are equivalent to sections taught by other teachers as per the Department’s policy. I participate in all course committee meetings and activities helping in the development of course content and selection of laboratory manual and lecture textbook.

Understanding of Subject
I strive to present the most accurate information and current concepts to my students. I have a good working understanding of my subject and keep apprised of developments in my field by reading current textbooks, performing literature searches, being a member of the Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS), attending professional development conferences/workshops to assess topics concerning lectures and laboratory I can apply t in the classroom and laboratory.

Presentation Style and Teaching Methods
My lectures are in Power Point and are in a brief outline format.  This allows students to concentrate on the presentation and engage in questions and discussion rather than extensive note-taking.   It also provides a platform for students to further explore, learn and reinforce the subject through textbook, laboratory manual or on-line sources. My approach is to create an atmosphere where I provide base information in lecture notes which must be supplemented and reinforced through self-study.

I use case-studies extensively as an off-shoot of a Science, Health and Business professional development workshop conducted by Kipp Herreid, Ph.D., University of Buffalo. I believe case-studies provide practical examples of information taught in class, reinforce that information and help develop skills in critical thinking and reflective judgment by reading and discussing complex, real-life or fictional scenarios.

I use lecture and laboratory handouts, review sheets, assignments, case-studies, library, Internet references and publisher based website resources in my teaching strategies. My lecture notes, handouts, assignments, case-studies, review questions, and Internet references are available on the college M drive and Angel for students.  I use Angel as a course management platform; it has worked well for me and my students. I like the resources available on Angel, especially Grade Book.

I use exercises, case-studies, exams, quizzes, and writing or drawing assignments as learning and grading tools.  I stress and encourage group interaction and critical thinking in lecture and laboratory. I have found that group interaction is a good way for students to learn from me and each other. It builds social and verbal skills including reliance and trust among the students.

Each year I am involved in a couple of undergraduate research projects. The subject of each project has to do with information reviewed in class (off-shoot of lecture or laboratory). I get a few students from class to work with me on these projects from inception, design, implementation of the experiment, write-up and presentation at Scholars’ Day. I feel involvement in research is a great learning experience for them.  I am willing to try and apply new teaching methods which intuitively feel like they should be effective.

I bring a positive enthusiasm to the course. I think knowledge of a subject needs to be combined with enthusiasm. It is a convincing postscript of the commitment and passion a teacher brings to the classroom. I believe students appreciate a course more fully and relate to a topic’s importance when it is presented in an enthusiastic manner.

Responsibilities and Expectations
Explaining the framework of course expectations and responsibilities is an essential component to teaching. Expectation is the framework of all relationships whether it be business, personal or school. I clearly define the responsibilities of students and my expectations of them the first week of the semester. I provide a detailed Course Information Sheet which outlines the course and my expectations of students and what the student should expect of me. I feel that the course information sheet and careful explanation of expectations the first week of class establish a proper organizational platform for the entire semester.

Advisement, Office Hours, time outside the class for students
I have been trained in advisement and I feel it is an important component in a student’s success. I am available to students during office hours, by e-mail correspondence, individual or group review sessions and I am in the Natural Science Education Center one hour per work during the semester. I demand a lot of time and effort from my students and because of that I make myself available during class or after hours for them.

For more information about my work in the Fellows Program, please see my action research report on  A Prospective, Controlled, Blinded Cross-Over Study Assessing the Effectiveness of Inquiry-Based Mini-Case Study and Peer Group Action Research in Learning Human Physiology.