Sometimes, between the labs, clinics, tests and research, it’s easy to forget the overall goal of professionals in the health science field. That goal is to help people.
Philosophy professor Dr. Chad Redwing has built his life’s work around this goal and helping others achieve it. This passion has taken him all over the world and led him to some amazing, unexpected accomplishments such as nonprofit organization Fourth World Cooperative Publications and Learning Consortium, the discovery of Chilean torture centers during a research stint in Latin America, and other nonprofit projects and education programs he continues to work with. He’s also found time to raise his three children on a goat farm in Sonora, California.
After serving in the Peace Corps in the 1990s, Dr. Redwing decided that human connection and understanding were important skills that people needed to learn and appreciate from a young age. He became a high school teacher and realized that the teaching systems around him weren’t truly taking the time to understand students and, therefore, were not motivating them properly.
“I realized that the system is not going to change itself,” he said. “The only way to really provide a better education to students is to do it yourself.”
Dr. Redwing then went on a long journey spanning across the last two decades traveling with students and learning what it took for students to understand the value of liberal arts in their lives. He wants students to understand that even after they graduate and no matter their profession, that to have a voice, to ponder big questions, to be curious about the world and to spend time talking with one another are crucial things to living a good life.
“For the liberal arts, for many of them, unless it’s alive, it’s not really a part of their lives in the first place,” he said.
Dr. Redwing wrote the Philosophy of Knowledge course taught at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. He’s watched it grow and expand with the program and now works with doctoral students who are required to have a philosophy class to become practitioners.
His approach to teaching is sort of “backwards” as he describes it.
“I have to kind of wrap what I want to do around what students interests are,” he said.
For USAHS students, he teaches them how to improve bedside manner and the way they interact with the human component of the diseases and illnesses students will try to therapeutically treat.
He compares the way he teaches to the way he has family dinner. Dr. Redwing gets to know his students before he presents information to them. He asks them to “put their phones down and have a conversation,” like a parent at the dinner table. But, what he is really asking them to do is to take a step back from the overwhelming and busy lives that USAHS students live. He just wants to talk to them
Dr. Redwing is dedicated to getting to know “the generation of people who were born after Google was invented.” He said this generation has basic conversations about basic things, but to strike up an interesting conversation about something is very difficult for them.
So, he teaches his students how to talk to each other. He gets to know who they are and how the information he has to give is going to change their lives. Once he understands them, then he can teach them.
“It’s easy to see why the students love his teaching style,” Dean of Post Professional Studies Dr. Cindy Mathena said. “He is always willing to go the extra mile for our students.”
Some of Dr. Redwing’s projects outside of the university he wants to use to help students as well. For example, his Fourth World organization sponsors trips each year and his idea is to help students get some doctoral research done if the nature of the trip matches their research interests.
Dr. Redwing’s philosophy on life is a reminder to us all that no matter what degree we are pursuing or what profession we are in, the end goal is simple.
“What it comes down to is showing concern for others and being of service to them,” he said. “That’s really why we’re all here in the first place.”