Member Spotlight

Dr. Michelle Howell SmithMichelle Howell Smith, PhD

Academy Member Since 2020
Education Researcher, Interprofessional Academy of Educators
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What do you do at UNMC?

As an educational researcher with the Interprofessional Academy of Educators, I consult and collaborate with Academy members on health professions education research projects. I can help members with research design, identifying efficient data collection methods, selecting data analysis approaches, targeting potential journals, developing publications, and securing internal or external funding. My goal is to provide pragmatic support that helps members further their educational research objectives while balancing their other commitments.

Tell us about your educational research interests and teaching role.

I am a research methodologist, so my primary interest is in the application of mixed methods research designs in health professions education research. I have taught the introduction to mixed methods research course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln over 10 times, and look forward to teaching that course, and other research methodology courses, here at UNMC.

What is one of your favorite/memorable teaching moments?

Learning about mixed methods research can be a bit intimidating for students. As a field, mixed methods scholars use a lot of jargon, which can be disorienting; especially when common words are used in very specific ways. Even though I pre-teach my students about the learning process, they typically feel uncomfortable as they are climbing up the learning curve. My favorite moments of the semester are when they finally get their feet underneath them and begin to connect the course material with their previous training and experiences. The "ah-ha" moment when they start to see the application of what we have been discussing to their own work is very powerful.

What do you see as the biggest benefit to being a member of the IAE?

As a new member of the Academy, I have really appreciated being part of a community of scholars. I enjoy learning about everyone's research interests and how I might be able to support their work. I hope that Academy members will come to view me as a valuable resource and partner.

What do you enjoy doing in your free (non-work) time?

As a mom of two children, I am often busy supporting their activities. My son is active in Tae Kwon Do, music and is a member of the Zoo Crew. My daughter is involved with the Penguin Project at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, does therapeutic horseback riding, and is involved in a 4-H rabbit project. When I'm not driving them to activities, I like to read, cook, and garden.


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