Certificate in Faculty Preparation Student Spotlight: Benin Dakar, MSHA

Benin Dakar

Please tell us about yourself.
While most of my colleagues are considering retirement, I am retooling and preparing for new educational and professional opportunities. In addition to being in the Certificate in Faculty Preparation program, I am pursuing a Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc) degree, focusing on education for health professionals. Further, I am the co-founder and COO for an organization that teaches mental health first aid nationwide. I value volunteering and helping people, and uplifting my community. I also enjoy sharing my home with pets and plants, focusing on healthy eating and regular exercise.
What motivated you to enroll in the Certificate in Faculty Preparation: Teaching in Higher Education program?
While completing my MSHA (master's degree in health systems management) and as a doctoral student in the health sciences, I have not had a Black professor, although many students of color are in the programs. There is a need for cultural humility to facilitate understanding of culturally diverse and underserved populations and eliminate health disparities in health care. My presence as a collegiate-level instructor is a means to diversify health administration and health sciences faculty and be a role model for all students. I will assist students in expanding their cultural lens and increasing their understanding of how the social determinants of health affect access to healthcare and health outcomes as much as clinical expertise.
How has the program positively impacted your personal and/or professional life?
The academic year included unexpected personal challenges that became threats to my educational and professional ambitions. Nevertheless, the encouragement of the faculty to persevere is extraordinary, and is enabling me to succeed in the Faculty Preparation program.

I plan to emulate my professors’ level of compassion and flexibility with my students.
What were/are the most memorable growth moments for you in the program?
Learning how to apply Bloom's Taxonomy Revised with developing learning objectives, lesson plans, and student assessments is invaluable, and I continue to grow in understanding and using the taxonomy. I believe that comprehending the hierarchy of learning can help instructors know how to support the progression of their students at each level of their cognition with the subject matter. Additionally, I appreciate the discussion boards and learning from peers. I have grown from gaining knowledge about other academic fields and from my fellow students sharing their experiences and perspectives.
What are your goals after completing the certificate?
My goal is to locate a part-time opportunity to teach a college or workforce development course by the end of the year. I want to engage with students, faculty, administrators, hone my teaching skills, and learn to navigate academia. I also plan to develop a trauma-informed course to expand the curricula at my organization.
What else would you like to share about your experience as a student in the Certificate in Faculty Preparation program?
Teaching is demanding and requires education and experience beyond being qualified in an academic discipline. A teacher needs the proper credentials, passion, teacher education, and mentoring to be effective. Students exploring college teaching and experienced faculty can benefit from participating in Humboldt’s Certificate in Faculty Preparation to learn student-centered instructional strategies. Student-centered teaching is culturally responsive, teaches problem-solving, and accommodates various learning styles and conditions. Consequently, students gain confidence and learn to work cooperatively with their peers. Student-centered teaching is necessary to ensure that more students are engaged in the classroom and inspired to learn independently.