Dr. Anna Korol and Dr. Sean Park recently won the prestigious Department of Medicine Teaching Award. Shortly after winning this award, Dr. Korol was also presented with the MSU Teaching award. They are both instructors for iBioMed’s Health, Engineering Science & Entrepreneurship (HESE) program.
Dr. Korol is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Medicine, Division of Innovation. She teaches two iBioMed courses: IBEHS 1EP6 – Entrepreneurship in Biomedical Innovation: From Bench to Market, and IBEHS 4EE6 – Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship III: Innovators in Scrubs.
Dr. Park is also an Assistant Professor with the Department of Medicine, Division of Education and Innovation, and has taught the iBioMed course IBEHS 2E06 – Health, Engineering Science and Entrepreneurship I: Human-Centred Design.
They share insights about what this award means to them.
This award is a celebration of the effort, creativity and collaboration required to make truly exceptional learning experiences. The award means that I can work in an environment where I feel supported and am encouraged to do bring my skills forward. I am grateful for my colleagues for encouraging me to be me. The award means I have learners who are willing to lean into my ‘experiments’, to tolerate my own curiosity about what it is we should be doing together. As well, the award means that I am grateful to have a good home environment, supportive wife (thanks Steph!) and resources that allow me to focus on this work. Given the many challenges of the pandemic, the award is also a reminder of how extraordinary conditions can bring forth previously unimagined resourcefulness and creativity.
I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful colleagues and inspiring students, who allow me to do what I love. This award shows me that I’m in the right place, with the right people, and maybe even doing the right things.
Get outside the university and don’t be afraid to experiment. Education, teaching and learning is an incredibly vast field and there is amazing work happening all over the place. I’ve learned that going to places that inspire and energize – whether they are studios, labs, forests, music halls, museums ceremonial grounds, elementary classrooms or workplaces – challenges my understanding of what it means to learn. Use this analogous inspiration to then wildly make and create new tools, artifacts, assessments, activities, spaces and assignments. Learn from what happens and do not waste a minute on worrying about failing.
Oh so many and I’m just getting started! Biggest lesson is to be myself and not what I think a “professor” should be.
As part of my arts education doctorate I somehow found my way into dabbling with freestyle rap as part of an assignment. The experiment went beyond the course and from time to time I bring an amp and mic to the park with my friends and get silly. My handle is MC Parks ’n Rec; so when it’s time to play, I never know what is is I’m gonna say. Lol!
I started classical ballet training at the age of 3 and took it really seriously. I wanted to be a professional ballerina…but was too short. I’m still dancing over 30 years later and luckily McMaster doesn’t have any height requirements!
I did an activity years ago that involved finding pictures of every educator I look up to. All my heroes. I printed their faces out and put them on a board with “Educator Hall of Fame” in the centre. I printed out my own face and put it on the board. I then hid the board away somewhere I would have a hard time finding again. Actually, I don’t know exactly where I put it in my house. The activity planted a seed in my unconscious that I aspire to be like those folks that I look up to; not to be famous, but to make a significant impact through my work. Think about who your heroes are and make a board. Put your face on it and then hide it away somewhere. Let your big dream unfold and trust that the gifts only you uniquely bring to the world are being given to the world.