Assistant Dentistry Prof. Michael Ignelzi will be awarded for his inventive teaching style next month when he receives the Charles Craig Teaching award from the national dental honor society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon.
Building off of television game shows such as “Jeopardy!,” Ignelzi has brought the game show dynamic of question and answer trivia into the classroom his creation, dental Jeopardy in a PowerPoint format.
“I have three one-hour sessions to teach about anomalies in children”s mouths, such as texture, shape, eruption and color,” he said. “Because there are between 100 and 105 students at a time, this is a great way to break up the large group and to encourage them.”
The award was designed to recognize dental educators who use innovative techniques in teaching dentistry, which in turn motivates students to be life long learners and dental educators themselves.
Ignelzi said he is proud of the impact the award will have on the University.
“Winning this award dismisses the idea that the University is only about research. But, no, it is also about quality teaching,” Ignelzi said. “It is a testament to the resources that we all have on this campus to be better teachers.”
Ignelzi”s teaching technique was recognized by faculty and students alike.
“In my short time at the Dental school, I have heard nothing but good things about him,” first-year Dental student Louis Whitesman said.
“The word on the street is that he is a great teacher and an amazing researcher. He has made many contributions to the (Dental) school and to dentistry,” he added.
“I personally have not had the opportunity to take Dr. Ignelzi”s class, but I definitely am looking forward to having him as a professor in the future,” he added.
Ignelzi is pleased that “students really get into it and they have fun in the process. They must generate knowledge apply knowledge, and share knowledge.”
In addition, Ignelzi said that while researching a topic is important, “the true value comes in being able to apply those skills elsewhere.”
For his version of Jeopardy!, Ignelzi divides the class into groups and assigns an anomaly to each group.
These groups are then responsible for doing research on that topic and generating a handout that can be used as a reference tool when the course is over.
On competition days, a PowerPoint game board is displayed on a large screen, and, like in the television show, there are main categories with questions to choose from and students are given buzzers to ring in their answers.
Ignelzi also treats patients and conducts research on birth defects that affect children”s skulls that is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“That”s the advantage and fun of being at the University. I can teach, see patients and do research,” Ignelzi said.