Teaching is a lifelong passion for Presidential Award winner
As a high school science teacher, Meredith Quinene, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, assistant professor and academic coordinator for the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, learned to begin with the end in mind.
When she decided to leave the classroom to become a physician assistant, for instance, she did so knowing that her ultimate goal was to one day join the faculty of UT Health San Antonio, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in physician assistant studies in 2003.
“Teaching is my thing,” said Dr. Quinene, who has been chosen to receive a 2021 Presidential Teaching Excellence Award. “We spend so much time teaching our patients how to lead better lives or teaching them about what we are diagnosing them with. It’s been part of me my whole life.”
As a part of the LINC Faculty Council, Dr. Quinene led the Common Interprofessional Education (IPE) Experience program at UT Health San Antonio this past fall, creating content that was delivered to 977 students across all five schools. She also was instrumental in helping the Department of Physician Assistant Studies pivot to virtual instruction in response to the pandemic in spring 2020.
“Within 48 hours, Dr. Quinene had converted our didactic curriculum to an online curriculum,” said Paul B. Allen Sr., DSc, MPAS, PA-C, FAAPA, associate professor, program director, and department chair.
Dr. Allen nominated Dr. Quinene for the award. “I think she sets the standard for our department. I am very glad they recognized her contribution.”
Teaching during a pandemic required a drastically different approach, one that Dr. Quinene says she may continue to follow even after COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror. One major change has been the creation of videos to enrich students’ exposure to material delivered by Dr. Quinene, which preserves class time for more in-depth study.
“It massively changed my teaching,” she said. “I now spend my time on case studies and the more critical thinking aspects. I can’t say that I will go back to the way I did it before. I love being able to do the critical thinking and go more into the details of medicine.”
Dr. Quinene has a particular affinity for teaching adults and strives to meet students and patients wherever they are to help them reach their goals—whether that be mastery of classroom material or a particular health outcome.
“I know what it was like to have my school behind me no matter where I was and know they were rooting for me, and I hope my students know I am always available to do those things for them,” she said.
News of her award, which she will receive in April, came as a surprise.
“We all try to show up every day and do the best we can,” she said. “I am very humbled to know that other people feel I am doing a good job.”