Putting Learning into Practice – Christopher M. Howell 

Name: Christopher M. Howell, DSc, MSc, MPAS, PA-C, MBA 

Title: Program Director and Associate Clinical Professor 

Christopher Howell

Program: Miami University, Physician Associate Studies 

Program URL: https://miamioh.edu/

What PAEA learning activity did you attend and when?  I have had the privilege of attending several PAEA learning activities. The most recent were the New Faculty Jump Start and the New Program Directors Jump Start.

Would you recommend this learning activity to other members and, if so, why? Absolutely! These learning activities offer a foundational knowledge for new educators to prepare for higher education, while also providing tools for growth that benefit experienced faculty as well. Every workshop and learning experience that I have been able to attend considers several methods to address various learning and teaching styles, internal and external challenges to the program, recommendations to develop and improve a program with leaders and peers representing several institution types. Learning about the different education models and experiences, while building a sense of community, serves the educator in not only ensuring a great start in higher education, but developing the tools needed for a lasting career. 

What was your biggest takeaway/”aha” moment? There was no single event that could be argued as a “takeaway or ‘aha’ moment” from my recent attendance to the conferences/workshops. I found most of the discussions to be both enlightening and helpful to our program, which we have the honor of developing at Miami University. The entire course was value added.  

Tell us about what you have put into practice because of this learning activity. As we are developing our program, much of what has been discussed at our PAEA workshops will be considered for practice within program development and on-going assessments to determine effectiveness. The New Program Directors Jump Start regularly encouraged participants to consider the wealth of resources available to educators through not only PAEA, but the broader PA education community. I am grateful for the opportunities to network with so many peers and mentors. Several resources were made available that were invaluable to our program, including the sample budget, which provided insight into short- and long-term fiscal planning. Following the workshop, the team was able to re-evaluate its proposed budget and submitted a new proposal that was easily supported by our college.   

Additionally, program directors were reminded of the value of setting goals and establishing measurable, pragmatic benchmarks toward program improvement. The tools used to discuss data collection, analysis, and reporting (often through using various committees) strengthened our own product development. Finally, I appreciate the exercises in leadership that emphasized the value of team building, which can be overlooked if one is not careful to address this intentionally.   

Please note the following ARC-PA Statement: Miami University has applied for Accreditation – Provisional from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Miami University anticipates matriculating its first class in May of 2023, pending achieving Accreditation – Provisional status at the September 2022 ARC-PA meeting. Accreditation – Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.” Currently, the program has applied, but has not yet received, a provisional accreditation. It is important to note that the application for accreditation does not guarantee success. Accreditation Statuses – ARC-PA 

This article is part of the Putting Learning into Practice article series. We love to feature how our members are taking what they have learned through the professional development opportunities offered by PAEA and applying it to practice. Interested in being featured? Submit your Member Story on the PAEA website.