Dr. Jessica Nute has just received the Department of Radiology’s Teacher of The Year Award.
In addition to her position as an clinical assistant professor in the Department of Radiology, she also serves as COGS chair for the Radiological Sciences Ph.D. program and the Master of Science in Medical Health Physics program.
Her research interests include CT, QC processes, image quality metrics and phantom development.
Dr. Nute received her Ph.D. in Medical Physics at the UT Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences after receiving her M.S. in Medical Physics from Duke University.
She teaches multiple classes for the Radiological Sciences Ph.D. program including RADI 5015: Introduction to Physics of Diagnostic Imaging (Co-Course Director), RADI 5090: Radiological Sciences Seminar (Course Director), RADI 6024: Anatomy and Physiology (Course Director), RADI 6012: Physics of Nuclear Medicine Imaging (Instructor). In addition, she teaches multiple classes for the Doctorate in Medical Physics program including RADI 6015: Physics Measurements in Imaging Lab 2 and RADI 6027, 6039, 6040, 6043: DMP Imaging physics clinical rotation 1-4.
Dr. Nute explained that her teaching philosophy is to showcase that learning how to learn is just as important as learning the subject matter.
“I tend to focus a lot on how to approach, understand and document their learning to ensure we are training professionals that can self-direct their future learning. For example, I try to be honest about what information is vital to understand and what can be relegated to reference. While it would be easy to state that all information is equally important, that is neither helpful nor true in the real world,” she said. “Most importantly, I try to be open about why I am teaching the way I am and make an active effort to solicit feedback from my students, including criticism that may make the class better in the future. I am new to teaching and their input can only help me improve.”
She explained that the classes that she enjoys the most are the RADI 5015: Introduction to Physics of Diagnostic Imaging and RADI 5090: Radiological Sciences Seminar courses. She explained that RADI 5015 is a course that all first years in the program take and is where students are introduced to the fundamental physics behind medical imaging.
“This ability to interact with all the students during their first semester here in our program is really enjoyable and helps set the tone for the rest of their time here,” she said.
On the other hand, in RADI 5090, she interacts with students from their first semester in the program to those about ready to graduate.
“We talk about how to effectively convey scientific research and how to engage your audience,” she said. “At the end of the semester, each student presents their research and we as a class try and help the student develop their presentation skills.”
Dr. Nute explained that one of the main reasons she came to UT Health San Antonio was for the ability to teach and mentor students.
“I love working with students. The ability to work with someone who is struggling and see the moment when the concept suddenly makes sense is immensely rewarding,” she said. “Graduate school is really hard – academically, mentally, emotionally – and having faculty who you know are rooting for you and there to support and help you can make a huge impact. I just want to be a part of that impact.”
When asked, what the award means to her, she explained that she feels very honored to be part of such a skilled group of educators.
“To me this award simply means I’m on the right track. I don’t take it to mean that I’ve hit upon some magic formula for teaching or that I’ve ‘arrived’ as an educator, but simply that I’m headed in the right direction,” she said. “Maybe I just got an ‘A’ for effort, but I’ll take it because it means the hard work does make a difference.”