For Valencia Nutrition Professor Kristin Bartholomew, the pathway into teaching was unexpected but welcome. Upon completing her internship and graduate degree in dietetics from Florida State University, Kristin moved to the Tampa/St. Pete area to work as a registered dietician. Her first job was in a teaching hospital, where her passion for education began.
“I never considered becoming a teacher, but I remember one day at the hospital when the idea was first introduced to me,” Kristin reflects. “I was explaining something to one of the nurses (as I often did) and she said, ‘You would be a great teacher.’ It was really kind of a shock to me, because I did not see myself as a teacher. My passion was always nutrition, not education. Little did I know that I could have a passion for both.”
Kristin’s passion for nutrition is evident. She loves incorporating hands-on learning experiences into the classroom, whether having students experience obesity with a 20-pound vest or mixing blue salt in water to demonstrate osmolality in labs (osmolality is a test that measures the concentration of chemical particles found in the fluid part of blood) or making thickened hot chocolate drinks for students to experience dysphagia diets (people with dysphagia have difficulty swallowing and have the sensation that food is stuck in their throat or between the neck down to just above the abdomen).
It is through these innovative ideas that Kristin became interested in case-based teaching. “In health care,” she says, “applying concepts to real life scenarios is one of the most effective ways to learn complex treatments and diseases.”
She has used case studies in various ways over the years. Now her case studies are integrated within interactive lectures. “I begin a case study at the start of a class and systematically have students apply lecture material to the case study as we progress through the class.”
In January, Kristin will be leading a new Valencia faculty development course, sponsored by the Teaching/Learning Academy, on case-based teaching for health-care instructors:
LCTS2222, Case-based Teaching in the Health Sciences
Thursday, January 16, 2014 – West Campus, 2-4 p.m. CRN2997
Friday, January 17, 2014 – Osceola Campus, 1-3 p.m. CRN2998
All faculty and staff are invited to attend. Kristin is also developing a Valencia AA degree in nutrition and dietetics.
“The AA degree is the first step in what we hope will become a full dietetics program in the future,” shares Kristin. “With growing numbers of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in our country, there is a huge need for registered dietitians to help change these trends.”
Currently in Central Florida, there are no degree programs to become a registered dietitian. The AA degree in Nutrition and Dietetics is expected to begin in spring 2014.
Recently, Kristin became involved with nutrition and fitness grants through Fuel Up to Play 60 (sponsored by the NFL and the Dairy Council) and has helped two schools secure nearly $20,000 combined in grant money. She also advises the student-driven wellness teams in developing programs to utilize the grant money. Through these grant funds, the schools have built a 700-plus square foot garden, started walking and running clubs, held wellness fairs and established work-out rooms to help combat the growing epidemic of obesity in the U.S.