Improving Higher Education  
Perry, Graeme

 


Challenges to the Teaching of Public Health
Education in Asia  

Galvez Tan, Jaime

Which Program to be Elaborated in Order to Teach
Character to Rwandan Children After Genocide
Musabe-Ngamije, Joyce

Freedom and Constraints: A Glance at Adventist
Educational Aims   

Rondonuwu, Joppi

Biochemical Research: An Indispensable Partner
of Graduate Health Education 

Tamayo, Jerry

Learning to Think at Christian Universities:
Philosophical Issues  

Vyhmeister, Shawna

You Will Learn It or I Will Teach You 
Williams, Anthony



Drugs, Herbs and Natural Remedies
Hardinge, Mervyn
Reviewed by Evelyn V. Almocera

Management Gurus and Management Fashion 
Jackson, Brad
Reviewed by Marie-Anne Razafiarivony




    

Improving Higher Education


        Accumulated research within disciplines from neurobiology to psychology has provided educators with a lot of knowledge about learning. Exemplary practice has applied this knowledge and shaped it to specific learners and learning contexts. Yet higher education institutions around the world continue to express concern about the effective use within their specific institutions of this collective wisdom in optimally preparing students for professional life. Acknowledging professional preparation of students as the common purpose institutions and educators share, and the dimensions of the integrative task this requires, the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies through the School of Graduate Studies on November 11, 2002, convened the IV annual Forum, which was titled  Improving Higher Education. The presentations made by the four participants are included within this journal.

       In the keynote address, You Will Learn it or I Will Teach You, Anthony Williams, the recipient of an Australian national university teaching award, describes a shift in the focus of higher education from the educators instructing, to the students learning. His article addresses the question What Theories, Practices and Models of Institutional Practice Support Recent Developments in Successful Student Learning? Williams advocates, defines and describes a shift from pedagogy to andragogy within the context of a constructivist approach and illustrates the application of these principles in the value-added designing of Problem Based Learning (PBL) and Project Centered Learning. Learning structures and strategies are suggested that can be applied across disciplines to enhance and support learning and in the process, clarify concepts of good teaching. 

       Jaime Z. Galvez Tan, past Director of Public Health for the Philippines, predicts major changes to the Asian health scene caused by globalization, communication technology, changing disease epidemiology, environmental degradation, urbanization and a continued ‘greying’ of the population. He considers likely challenges to teaching public health and suggests specific ways in which higher education should respond to meet the needs of this emerging society. Galvez Tan argues that health schools must employ a multidisciplinary faculty to be able to deal with the complexity of health management, politics, education and communication; acknowledge the devolution of powers in the Philippines and plan how to suitably educate the various local decision-makers (governors and mayors) impacting health decisions about water, environmental pollution, sanitation, and lifestyle. 

       Involving graduate students in biomedical research has significant advantages to teachers and learners according to Jerry S. Tamayo. After reviewing the development of health education and noting the Philippine context, Tamayo espouses PBL and argues the advantages of collaborative research with students as a way of verifying a lecturer=s expertise, gaining student confidence, supporting evidence based teaching and enhancing learning. When funding is restricted, collaborative interdisciplinary biomedical research offers economies and outcomes that have appealing benefits to wider society and learners.

       Shawna Vyhmeister challenged the forum to consider the place of critical thinking in Christian education. She sets out the academic, social and spiritual imperatives for requiring critical thinking in educational programs and argues strongly for involving students in curriculum decision-making.

       Two additional articles ask readers to reassess the basic reasons for education. Musabe-Ngamije, a Rwandan genocide survivor, reviews the crisis of character and character education her nation is currently facing. The author describes frameworks for character education and defines specific roles for a national program, the principles of which could well be incorporated into any educational program. Rondonuwu takes educators back to the fundamentals in a discussion of Freedom and Constraints within a review of the goals of Adventist education. Reassessing freedoms may contribute to perspectives on developing careful thinkers rather than indiscriminate regurgitators of information.

      Two book reviews discuss current issues. The review by Evelyn Almocera describes a book of interest within the Asian context of alternative medicine that has particular interest for Seventh-day Adventists worldwide as they consider the counsel of Ellen White. The work invites consideration of Drugs, Herbs and Natural Remedies as contributors to health. The author, Mervyn Hardinge, is a former dean of the Loma Linda School of Public Health. Almocera commends this work since it clarifies for readers the medical practices of Ellen White=s time and offers reasons for the principles she recommends for developing a healthy lifestyle and for the use of natural remedies or therapies. The second review, by Marie-Anne Razafiarivony, outlines the research of Brad Jackson into the influence of management gurus and management fashions. The impact of gurus since the 1980s is differentiated from that of management consultants. Many employees have experienced the personal consequences of ‘fashionable’ management decisions to reengineer, outsource, downsize, benchmark, develop a learning organization or introduce Total Quality Management. One focus of the book is the ultimate impact of these decisions on organizational performance. Razafiarivony comments on the usefulness of Jackson’s work for managers and management students.

       Being informed by this collection of articles invites both individual and corporate reflection on roles and resources in higher education. Further, it stimulates our personal commitment to improving higher education and provides strategies to be used in the improvement process. 

       People collaborate when the job they face is too big, is too urgent, or requires too much knowledge for one person or group to do alone. Marshalling what we know about learning and applying it to the education of our students is just such a job (Joint Task Force on Student Learning, 1998). 

       Higher education will be improved as readers reassess and clarify the philosophical foundations of education within a Christian worldview, as critical thinking characterizes student response to learning processes which are planned to address both secular and spiritual issues, when teachers and students see this as a joint work and students feel fulfilled in their participation in research-oriented curriculum processes.

 

Graeme H. Perry
Associate Professor, Dean, School of Graduate Studies
Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies