Van Eck is founding Monson Endowed Professor in Medical Education

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.— Richard Van Eck, Ph.D., has been named the founding Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Endowed Professor in Medical Education at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Van Eck is an educator and scientist, who is recognized internationally for his research in instructional simulation and game theory. Before joining the SMHS, Van Eck was a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in UND’s College of Education and Human Development, where he taught courses on human performance technology, eLearning, instructional design, and instructional simulations from 2004 to 2015.

This new position is an outgrowth of the School’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative, which is intended to help address current and especially future workforce shortages through a variety of approaches. Expansion of class size is an essential component. The SMHS is anticipating tremendous growth over the next six years that includes increasing medical school class size by 16 slots for a total of 64 over four years, increasing health sciences class sizes by 30 students per year for a total of 90 over three years, and adding 17 residency (required post-medical school training) positions for a total of 113 residents statewide. The school will recruit 39 additional clinical faculty and an additional 124 nonclinical faculty and 78 staff members to teach and provide support for students and faculty.

As the associate dean for Teaching and Learning at the UND SMHS, Van Eck will provide leadership for the ongoing development, implementation and evaluation of the educational programs at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He will work with SMHS leaders, the director of Education Resources, and faculty, students, and staff to implement and improve curricula, engage faculty and provide faculty training, provide curriculum management, oversee student assessment and competency, accomplish course and program evaluation, and encourage the scholarship of teaching.

Van Eck will begin work at the SMHS on July 1, 2015.

“The SMHS has been an innovator in medical education for a long time. Our small-group, patient-centered learning method is widely admired and emulated,” said Joshua Wynne, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “But we need to continue to innovate and refine our pedagogical approach. With the recruitment of Dr. Van Eck, we have a renowned educator and innovator who will help ensure that the education that our students receive continues to be at the cutting edge.”

“I am excited to be joining the SMHS during this period of innovation and growth,” Van Eck said. “With the Healthcare Workforce Initiative adding 200 students to the 1,100 in eight disciplines the SMHS already trains, we have a real opportunity to impact health care in North Dakota and nationwide, and curriculum design and innovation will play a key part in achieving this goal.”

Van Eck received his Master of Arts in English from UND in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Development from the University of South Alabama in 2000. He was an assistant professor in Instructional Design and Technology at the University of Memphis until 2004, where he worked with the Institute for Intelligent Systems on the development and testing of intelligent tutoring systems. At UND, he continues to focus on technology innovation through his membership on departmental and college technology committees, the University Instructional Technology Council, the Senate Continuing Education Committee, the Center for Instructional Learning Technology’s advisory board, and the Working Group in Digital and New Media. He has received research support from the National Science Foundation for work on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and he continues to work on several games to teach science and mathematics. For his excellence in teaching at UND, he was honored with the North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award in 2009. Van Eck has served as an expert consultant for the state of Alabama, the province of Manitoba, and several universities, corporations, and private foundations. He has been a keynote speaker at many U.S. and international conferences, including TEDx Manitoba. Van Eck is the editor of two books : Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games: Emerging Concepts and Future Directions , and Gaming & Cognition: Theories and Perspectives from the Learning Sciences. He has written and cowritten numerous print and digital publications, including a cover article for Educause Review, a publication read by more than 70,000 higher education leaders. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Technology, Knowledge and Learning and as a peer reviewer for several professional journals.

The Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Endowed Professor in Medical Education was established through a generous investment by UND graduates Dr. David Monson and his wife Lola Rognlie Monson, both natives of nearby Climax, Minn. He earned his BA and BS degrees in medicine from UND in 1961. She earned her BS in Education Home Economics in 1960. After two years at UND's medical school, Dr. Monson received his medical degree at the University of Minnesota in 1963. He completed an internship and general surgical residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago followed by a surgical fellowship at the Lahey Clinic in Boston. Monson served as a major in the Army Medical Corps for two years and then returned to Rush University Medical Center for a cardiothoracic fellowship. Monson practiced adult and pediatric heart surgery at Rush and taught students, residents, and cardiac fellows at Rush Medical School with an academic rank of associate professor. He retired 12 years ago as a cardiac surgeon at Central Dupage Hospital in Winfield, Ill. The Monsons live in River Forest, Ill., a Chicago suburb.