Dr. Epstein’s students continually refer to his ability to create a positive learning environment. “He does a phenomenal job of incorporating real-life examples into lessons. The enthusiasm and passion he brings to the classroom made the course content so interesting and inspired every student to engage in conversation. His ability to really connect with every student and make sure they walked away from class with information they could use in the future was so evident.” Another student stated, “Dr. Epstein cares about giving students the highest opportunity for success. He goes as far as to make it a personal goal, outside of the classroom, to help play an active role in the professional development of his students. Not only does he encourage students to develop themselves in a professional manner, but he leads by example in continuing to pursue his own education and professional accomplishments.”
Dr. Epstein stated himself, “My teaching philosophy is to create a comfortable, valuable and professional learning environment in which students want to attend class and learn, resulting in positive life-long memories and practical skills and information. I want my students to believe that they are all valued members of our community and have the chance to participate in a dynamic, engaging, and useful course.”
One of his colleagues shared, “He has always exemplified the epitome of what a CMU professor should be… Firecrackers would not be more effective in getting the student’s attention. In his classes, you do not see students reading the paper, using their cell phone, or otherwise being inattentive – It is like watching a well-organized basketball coach in that when the huddle is called, all eyes and ears are on the coach to find out what is being said. His obvious enjoyment of the classroom environment spreads quickly to the students. Rarely are there not lively discussions and give and take.”
Dr. René Shingles
is an important team member of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions. As a Professor in the Rehabilitation and Medical Sciences program, she currently serves as the Director of the Athletic Training program.
According to a colleague, "Bar none, Dr. Shingles is enthusiastic about sharing a wealth of information with students! It is often new subject matter, and she does a remarkable job of conveying the importance through enthusiasm. Her passion is evident.”
Additionally, "words like ‘enthusiastic, passionate, knowledgeable, and open’ are some of the words used to describe her interaction with students. They ADORE her!" Another colleague noted, “Dr. Shingles is active in her professional organization and has received a number of awards and recognitions. She has certainly been a strong model for the students for active engagement in professional issues.”
One student shared that "By doing many hands-on activities within the classroom she helped increase the overall knowledge level of the class. Dr. Shingles was amazing at keeping the students interested in the topic. If it was telling a personal story to help make the topic more exciting or asking questions, she used bold communication skills to engage the classroom.” An alumni commented, “She never let us be satisfied with just being ‘good’. She always demanded that we act like true professionals at all times, and in my experience, still demands it. When we discuss my related career tasks, she still demands that I perform to my highest potential and more.”
In her teaching philosophy, Dr. Shingles addressed teaching practices related to building rapport with her students, "The best example of how I build rapport with students has to do with how I openly share stories about myself with my students. I tell them about my education, where and how I grew up, and about my professional experiences. Often, I have a story that relates to the topic we are discussing. Likewise, I invite students to share their stories and experiences with me and their classmates. I listen intently and thank them for sharing."
Dr. Jennifer Wirz is an assistant professor of special education and has been a faculty member at Central Michigan University since 2010. Her research and teaching interests include co-teaching and inclusive practices; professional development for in-service teachers; students with emotional/behavior disorders; assessment in education with an emphasis on curriculum-based measurement; and special education policy and law.
According to a colleague, "[Dr. Wirz] is very passionate about preparing future teachers. She always relates assignment and expectations in her classes to real-life situations that students will be expected to address." Her colleague also noted, "I can attest to numerous accounts of overhearing students who have had her as an instructor state how much they have learned from her and how they feel prepared for the realities of student teaching."
Another colleague noted, "The passion for teaching CMU students by this person is impossible to ignore. The students talk of this dedication and benefit from the contagious nature of the teaching style and interaction opportunities."
One student shared that, "My instructor was excellent at maximizing student engagement in class. To do this, she differentiated her instruction multiple times during an individual class period." Another student noted, "When students walk into her room they know that she cares about them, which translates to students being more willing to contribute to class discussions, ask questions during class, and answer questions during class."