UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Ernst, Gregory Paul

School of Health Professions
Physical Therapy
(210) 567-8757

I believe that the process of education is far more important than "getting an education. I liken the process of learning to the process of climbing a mountain peak. The student must enjoy the challenge f the climb and not be satisfied with reaching the top. I strive to spark enthusiasm for the process of learning by actively engaging the student in the learning process. One cannot enjoy the climb" by sitting passively in a chair while a professor rambles on. One method to engage the student is to make the topic of the day relevant. I routinely rely on my extensive clinical experience to bring the material alive. I challenge students with case studies in the classroom. The case studies become even more relevant as students role play the scenarios in lab sessions. Another tool I use to spark enthusiasm toward learning is to engage the students in debates. I assign groups of students a controversial topic in physical therapy; they research the evidence and openly debate each other in front of their classmates. The students have the opportunity to practice their literature searching skills, persuasive speech skills and critical thinking with improvisation. The student audience remains engaged by asking questions of the debate team. The student audience then votes on the winner based upon the evidence presented and team preparedness. Another means to maintain student interest, is that I assess student outcomes in a practical manner. I incorporate and emphasize student patient scenarios in both my written and practical exams and course projects require that students demonstrate the ability to apply course concepts to real patient situations. I have been consistent with mentoring students with research projects and my philosophy with research is similar to my teaching philosophy. I want students to be enthused with the process of scientific investigation and not just thrilled with the completion of the project. Developing lifelong learners does not just happen without focused effort. I believe that faculty must take an active and explicit role to develop this characteristic in students by instilling enthusiasm for learning in the classroom, lab, and clinic. We also must be role models so students can see our curiosity and desire to learn on a daily basis. Finally, I believe that faculty must assist students to acquire the skills for clinical and scientific inquiry that they will use throughout their careers. I strive to do this each day in the classroom, clinic and lab. I feel that my extensive clinical background, my enthusiasm in the classroom and lab as well as my daily role model activities as a professional, contribute to my effectiveness in developing the next generation of clinicians to care for our citizens throughout their careers.

9/2006 - Present Assistant Professor University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Physical Therapy, San Antonio, TX
6/2006 - Present Associate Professor and Adjunct Professor Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Physical Therapy, Provo, UT