|Dr. David Marc|
In the wake of the recent spring commencement, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my teaching and the achievements of my students (in addition to our BS and MS students in HIM, the first group of MS Health Informatics students graduated from CSS last Saturday!) I teach numerous classes that require students to evaluate previously published studies, datasets, or technology, and I’m often asking students to answer a single question over and over again….“How are you going to measure that?”
This single question has wide application in healthcare: how will you measure patient outcomes, the impact of new technology, cost effectiveness? Despite easily being able to generate many versions of the question, these queries are not easily answered.
However, the question reaches well beyond healthcare. During the commencement ceremony, I listened as my students were called to receive their diplomas. While waving to the students and celebrating their achievement, I began to ponder this question: “How are they going to measure this?” As graduates of our programs how will they determine the effects, the opportunity, and the challenges that this degree will offer them?
The most obvious gauge is simply knowledge. The coursework and methodologies learned in earning this degree will afford students the knowledge to be successful in their careers. They now have a deeper understanding of healthcare, data, analytical methods, project management and empirical approaches. This alone is measurable.
The second mark, of course, relates to money. Graduates from baccalaureate and graduate programs will likely earn more money because of their degree and the job opportunities that become available. These things are measurable.
You can also measure the friends they have made, the people they have met, and the experiences they have had over the course of completing their degree. You can measure their personal gratification and the recognition from their family. The last piece was easily observable in the look in mothers’ and fathers’ eyes as their child walked across the commencement stage, in the awe of children seeing a parent achieve something great, and in the continued encouragement and congratulations from spouses. These things are measurable.
So if you are a graduate and hear that this achievement is immeasurable, kindly disagree and explain that the measures are quite obvious. Look around you! Look at the people that have supported you in the past and will continue to support you in the future: faculty, friends, family, and even strangers that recognize your achievement. These are effortless assessments. Look inside you! Look at the knowledge, the sense of achievement, personal gratification, and the level of passion that you have for your profession. These things, too, are easy to measure.
Let’s not forget this simple question and continue to consider "How are we going to measure that?" Finally, let’s thank everyone who has ever had any measurable impact on our achievements.
Congratulations to all of our graduates!!!