Fellows: on the front line

July 18, 2003

Pat Leon asks a winner of one of this year's national teaching fellowships how he manages.

Name: Michael Manogue

Age: 44

Job: Dean for learning and teaching, faculty of medicine, dentistry, psychology and health, and senior lecturer in restorative dentistry, University of Leeds.

Salary: About £60K

Qualifications: Bachelor of dental surgery (Dundee), master of dental science, PhD (Leeds), certificate in learning and teaching in higher education; fellowship in dental surgery, and membership and diploma in restorative dentistry (Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh).

Experience: I am a specialist endodontist, which involves the science of the dental pulp and nerve supply to the tooth and its clinical management in health and disease.

Hours spent teaching: 100 to 120 a year, reduced from a peak of about 800 before I became dean. Much time is spent in direct clinical contact where patients in the dental hospital are treated by students. This is an intense form of teaching. My responsibility is to ensure patient safety and care while helping develop students' clinical competence. The ratio of staff to students varies from one to six to one to ten, but if you think about the potential ramifications (that is, if you were the patient) you would want it to be as low as possible. Sessions last three to four hours. The challenge is to maximise learning opportunities for the group and individuals.

Hours on red tape: About 1,500 hours a year. An increasing amount relates to the teaching quality enhancement-funded full-scale undergraduate dentistry (BChD) programme review, which I lead. This is an exciting undertaking.

Hours on research: Difficult to find time - only about 180 hours a year, although my university and national teaching fellowships will free some time. Have managed to co-author a text to be submitted for publication in autumn.

Teaching bugbear: That the value of teaching, and good teachers, is still not recognised sufficiently.

How would you solve it? Develop clear and realistic criteria for the recognition of excellence in teaching and reward its achievement.

Teaching pleasures: Seeing a dental student develop into an able, committed and caring professional.

Tips: I am guilty at times of not recognising students' abilities and tend to interfere. My tip would be to encourage students to think for themselves and to seek their own answers to problems. If we can provide a framework within which students can gain skills and have sufficient experience to make them competent while developing their awareness of the need for accuracy of self-assessment, our job as teachers is pretty much done.

Outside interests: My family, first and always. Italian food - I have long dreamt of owning a pasticceria. Playing the piano. Gardening, as it gives me time to think.

Career high points: Gaining a PhD in dental education when most people around me thought I was mad (but I had the benefit of an inspirational external supervisor). Becoming faculty learning and teaching dean, which opened my eyes to the fact that there was an academic world outside dentistry.

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