Trinity University Health Care Administration Faculty Member Receives Z.T. Scott Fellowship for Innovative Teaching and Dedicated Mentoring
By: Susie Gonzalez
Amer Kaissi, professor of health care administration at Trinity University, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Dr. and Mrs. Z.T. Scott Faculty Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding abilities as a teacher and mentor.
The Z.T. Scott Fellowship includes a cash award to be used for professional development and research. Trinity University Trustee Richard M. Kleberg III established the Fellowship in 1984 in honor of his grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Z.T. Scott. The award, announced May 16 during Trinity’s undergraduate commencement, is the most prestigious faculty award the University bestows.
Kaissi, who has taught both undergraduates and graduates at Trinity since 2003, is known for thorough class preparation and expecting the same of his students. To break the routine of courses that are taught in three-hour blocks, he implements mock press conferences, debates, jigsaw exercises, and instructive games similar to “Jeopardy” or “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” He also uses humor from cartoons and video clips from TV shows such as “The Office” to drive home important course concepts.
On the serious side, he recognizes that health care administration students are pragmatic and demand practical information that can be readily used. To meet that need, he introduces various theories and models as a set of tools for students to use in different situations. He coaches students before job interviews and calls on each student once a semester to present an impromptu briefing to train them to “think on their feet” as a taste of real world situations they are likely to encounter in the workplace.
Ed Schumacher, professor and chair of the department, said Kaissi’s teaching record “is without blemish” and praised him for being student-centered because he makes students and his classes a top priority without fear of pushing them in ways that often make them uncomfortable. “He is a large reason why our graduate program is rated as one of the best in the nation,” Schumacher said.
Vanessa Duran, who earned a master’s in health care administration at Trinity in 2014, said Kaissi is perceived by his students and alumni as a mentor inside and outside the classroom. She said he held her to a standard even higher than she set for herself while demonstrating a teaching style that reflected extensive preparation and attention to detail. “Kaissi uses his classroom not as time to stand up and lecture in front of us but as a time to facilitate, engage, and inspire us through his lesson plan,” Duran said, adding that the student engagement often results in a stronger understanding of course material. “Many of the lessons he taught during my time at Trinity have served me well as I've faced real life challenges in my career.”
Kaissi also is a premier researcher, with 32 published articles and a 2014 book titledFlipping Health Care through Retail Clinics and Convenient Care Models about his work with the popularity and convenience of retail health clinics. He also serves as editor-in-chief of Primary Health Care. Kaissi earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and a doctorate in health services research from the University of Minnesota.