Public Health Programs Leverage Industry Leaders As Adjunct Professors

Monday, February 11, 2019

Despite maintaining a full time position as Chief Program Officer of Crisis Assistance Ministry and the long list of responsibilities that comes with it, Tchernavia Montgomery says the decision to accept a role as an adjunct professor with the UNC Charlotte Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) was an easy one.

“To be in a role like this is a gift. Not only do I have an opportunity to further my own pursuits for knowledge, but more importantly I can foster that of others,” she said.

Montgomery, who recently received the 2018 Charlotte ATHENA Leadership Award for Service, is a member of a growing list of external industry-leaders helping to shape the next generation of UNC Charlotte public health professionals by serving as part-time instructors.

Currently, PHS employs 14 external adjunct professors whose collective experience runs the gamut in the industry. Resumes includes work in the public, private, and non-profit world, leading companies like Novant Health and the Medical Association of Georgia in roles such as Director of Industry Relations and general counsel.

“UNC Charlotte’s mission in part is to address the cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health, and social needs of the greater Charlotte region,” Montgomery said. “As an alum of UNC-Charlotte, I absolutely love and support this mission. Adjunct faculty help fulfill this promise to the community in that we help enhance classrooms by adding diversity of profession, experiences and thought.”

Building a strong stable of adjuncts to support PHS’s excellent full-time faculty is part of a strategic effort to graduate students who are prepared to succeed.

“Engaging practitioners who hold key positions in the health care workforce as instructors in our academic programs exposes our students to the realities of our complex health system and serves as an invaluable bridge between our academic coursework and the workforce that our students will join upon graduation,” said Dr. Lyndie Forthofer, chair of PHS

The diversity of organization experience that these practitioners represent is particularly valuable to support students’ career development and decision-making about preferences for first jobs after graduation.

“Our adjunct professors have many experiences you cannot read about in a text book, or find in a lab. The real world experience they share has improved my understanding and appreciation for those in the current workforce greatly,” said Hayley Summerville, president of the student Health System Management Association.

An overview of current UNC Charlotte Department of Public Health Sciences external adjunct professors: