Dr. David Coniglio

Dr. David Coniglio, ’13
Academic Coordinator of the PA Program
and Associate Professor of Health Professional Studies,
Campbell University

Congratulations on being voted by the faculty as having an outstanding dissertation in 2013! We would love to hear your story.

Thank you. I am in the third decade of my career as a Physician Assistant, which has included clinical practice and PA education. In 2003 I was fortunate to be offered a full-time faculty appointment in a local PA Program.  Early in my faculty career, it was apparent to me that in order to maximize my contributions to student learning and professional growth, there was much to be learned about being an effective educator and researcher.  I looked into opportunities available to me at that time, visited with Dr. Akroyd to discuss my interests, and it was clearly apparent that the NC State program represented an ideal opportunity. With the encouragement and support of my wife I entered the program in 2007, finishing in 2013.

How did your experience in the Adult & Community College Education (ACCE) program at NC State contribute to your professional achievements and successes? 

One of my goals was to learn how to be a better teacher. From the beginning of my study, I was exposed to a variety of educational theories and teaching techniques which I could integrate into my faculty work, so from the very beginning I was able to apply what I was learning. More recently, the strong preparation provided by the quantitative research core courses, has helped me improve the research-based content that I teach. In addition to the quantitative core, I was fortunate to be able to add a couple of courses in qualitative methodology, which has also supported my teaching of research methodologies and evidence-based medicine.

What did you enjoy most about your time in the ACCE program?

Where to begin… The core courses such as adult education, learning theory, history and philosophy, change process, reflective practice, all challenged me constantly to broaden my world and local views and values about life in general as well as education in specific. I was fortunate to enjoy classes with a diverse group of faculty and students which created continuous, yet changing, learning communities in which all participants were equally engaged in sharing ideas and values. The seminar-based classes were particularly enjoyable for the open environment and collegial sharing. This I still miss, and wonder if there should be some sort of “continuing  education” series to bring folks together occasionally to continue the process.

What are your lasting impressions of the ACCE program? 

Many of my lasting impressions are of the events I’ve described previously about the learning environment, and opportunities to broaden horizons and practice new techniques in the classroom “crucible”.  The dissertation experience required a degree of patience and time commitment that I underestimated at the time, but faculty support and encouragement, from committee members as well as Chair, were helpful and remain appreciated. The annual research poster session was a really fun way to remain in touch with the work that student colleagues were doing, at a time when less frequent contact was the norm.

Do you have any advice for prospective and current students who are interested in college/university leadership and administration? 

I would teach a course in this if I could, but I’m not sure if it would be better as a pre-enrolment option or a core course. There are so many considerations depending on whether you are full-time or part-time, have a job (or more than one), and most importantly family responsibilities. It’s a long-haul process and significant others need to be all-in for the duration, as my family was. Plan carefully, keep the long-view, work hard, challenge your assumptions. Most importantly, I think, is to embrace the process and have fun with it. There is so much opportunity here, if you are open to it and take advantage of it.