Instructor's Teaching Based on Years of Experience Working in Public Health Field
Monday, May 19, 2014
Anthony Gaglierd, adjunct instructor for the Department of Natural Sciences and Engineering Technology, spent 47 years working in public and environmental health for the Allegheny County Health Department. He has been teaching various courses in the undergraduate natural sciences programs as well as the Master of Science in Environmental Studies program for more than 25 years.
What are some of your favorite teaching moments?
I treasure all the times I have spent with my students especially those who I got to know over several semesters. I call them my kids. I’ve watched them grow and learn and mature as they prepared to go out into the world and contribute to making the world a better place for having been here. Then there are those rare and very special students whose work makes a teacher stand in awe. I’ve been fortunate to have four such students. These students produced such high quality work both on their examinations and projects that had the projects not been a classroom exercise, they could have qualified as actual work.
Tell us about how you incorporate your work experience into class.
During my 47 years working at the Allegheny County Health Department, I learned a great deal of practical information about public and environmental health. Yet, what I really focus on in my classes is what I like to call “how the game is played.” In my field, as well as any field, there is the science behind it. That can’t change. However, what happens in our society and community is that social, political and economic forces shape that science and create policy. Unfortunately, society often does not learn from the lessons of history, making poor choices and decisions that we leave for future generations to handle. I encourage my students to strive to develop a new paradigm by not repeating the mistakes of the past.
What makes Point Park’s science programs unique?
We’ve created programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level that give students not only technical knowledge but social, political and economic knowledge so they can understand both the science and the forces that shape good and bad policy.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at Point Park?
What I like about teaching here are the positive attitudes and how faculty has a blend of academic expertise and real-world experience. The emphasis is on the student as it was when I was here as a behavioral sciences major in the 1960s. I’ve never forgotten what it was like to be a student, especially a working student. With the support of the University, I am able to do everything in my power to help a student successfully complete my courses and earn a Point Park degree. My father once told me “Get an education, it’s something no one can take away from you.” I want each and every one of my students to have an opportunity to receive a solid education.
What advice do you have for our students pursuing careers in environmental studies?
Go for it. We need you. Those of us who began in this field after the first Earth Day are moving on. We need you, the country needs you, the world needs you and the planet needs you. Use the knowledge and skills you gain at Point Park to go forth and build that new paradigm.