Kathryn Grams, PhD, RN
In my very first years of university teaching (more than 35 years ago), my philosophy was quite simple and practical, get from one end of the class period to the other with the least amount of psychological trauma. I had had no formal preparation for teaching nursing, but had come straight from the clinical setting as an experienced practitioner with a baccalaureate degree and one summer of master’s level course work in nursing. Exploring my beliefs about knowledge and the process of teaching and learning did not seem particularly important. Instead, I focused on selecting and organizing the content that I thought was essential for nursing practice and presented it in a structured lecture format.
When the classroom began to feel more like home, I relaxed and began to learn, probably more than the students. I began to understand that the true center of the classroom is not the content or the teacher, but the student. I also began to value an educational approach that recognizes and genuinely respects all participants in the classroom as learners and teachers. It is reasonable to acknowledge a professor’s greater experience and knowledge within a discipline, however, this “fact” is never the basis for value judgments on the relative human or intellectual worth of students. Within this perspective, I could acknowledge (with relief) that I did not have all the “answers” and openly seek “answers” through classroom discussion. The students and I could engage in a dialogue – a talking, listening, sharing, and responding to each other – for the purpose of coming into contact with ideas and to understand and meet each other.
I seek to create a classroom environment that values process as much as content and uses a variety of teaching/learning strategies. In my role as teacher-learner and classroom facilitator, I take the following approaches: I prefer classroom discussion to lecture and expect students to come to class having completed the assigned learning activities; I offer case studies for analysis, problems for problem-solving, and dilemmas for decision-making. I am committed to helping students learn to think and learn to write through the application of theoretical principles in reality-based, context-sensitive situations, and formal and informal writing assignments; I enjoy creative and “fun” approaches to serious and “boring” topics; and I love group activities that promote peer interaction and help students develop caring relationships with each other.
Respecting student and faculty needs, opinions, and choices is fundamental to caring and essential to the caring community in the School of Nursing at the University of West Georgia. I am honored to work with nursing students and find real pleasure in sharing my enthusiasm for nursing, teaching, and learning. I am constantly challenged to create an atmosphere in which all participants find personal and professional meaning and are motivated to learn and realize new possibilities.
- NURS 3122, Professional Concepts
- NURS 6501, The Role of the Nurse as Educator
- NURS 6687, Health Systems Leadership Role Practicum I
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing - Georgia State University
Master of Nursing - Wichita State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing - University of Nebraska
Areas of Expertise or Professional Interests:
Nursing theory and issues
Qualitative research - phenomenology
Caring in nursing education
Professional Memberships and Certifications:
American Nurses Association
Georgia Nurses Association
Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Pi Nu and Gamma Pi Chapters
International Association for Human Caring
American Association of University Professors
Reading and family
The most unique thing about our programs is…
the small classes taught by full-time tenure track faculty who, together with students, create our community of caring.
School of Nursing | University of West Georgia | 678-839-6552 | firstname.lastname@example.org