In her new role as the director of faculty development for the College of Medicine, Jennifer Hillyer will play a role in achieving some of the strategic goals in the College of Medicine. Learn more about the higher education veteran.
This isn’t your first rodeo at NEOMED. Tell us about your first career here.
JH: I started my higher ed career 20 years ago in the department of biochemistry and molecular pathology. I worked as a research assistant for three years in the lab of William Landis, Ph.D., who did phenomenal work in bone and connective tissue research. It does feel like I'm coming full circle in my career returning to NEOMED after 20 years in different higher ed roles.
Tell us about your journey back to NEOMED.
JH: I left the University in 2002 after finishing my master’s degree in biology at Youngstown State University and went on to pursue a teaching career at the University of Mount Union. For eight years, I taught anatomy and physiology lectures and labs, along with biology courses, and advised students pursuing degrees in the health professions. After my time at Mount Union, I moved on to Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences, where I had a unique opportunity to develop new curriculum and design a new anatomy and physiology lab space. While teaching and coordinating courses at Aultman College, I gained an entirely new skill set working with my faculty colleagues in an administrative capacity.
Now, 20 years later, I have returned to NEOMED, and it's grown by leaps and bounds. It's amazing how much the campus has evolved these past two decades.
What will your role as the director of faculty development entail?
JH: My role as the director of faculty development in the College of Medicine will be driven by faculty expectations, needs, and concerns. The College of Medicine faculty are at the heart of my role, and there are a vast and diverse number of faculty on campus and across all the clinical sites. I envision my role as one of service where I listen to faculty concerns and proactively respond to their needs as both will guide future programming. My hope is that I can provide the faculty resources that will encourage continual, personal and professional growth — all of which will benefit our students as well.
Now that you’re back on campus, what are you most excited for?
JH: I am really looking forward to building relationships with faculty and learning from them as well. I know that faculty are doing great work both inside and outside of the classroom as many have active clinical practices and research labs. It is this establishment of relationships among faculty and other stakeholders on and off campus that I am most excited to cultivate.
We hear you love education so much that you’re working on earning a Ph.D.
JH: I went back to school in 2014 when I started the Higher Education Administration doctoral program at Kent State University. Currently, I am writing my dissertation which examines the impact of simulation on self-confidence and basic science knowledge among nursing students. It is my hope that I will be defending in the near future, but I know that education and learning will always be a lifelong endeavor for me.