Fallon receives award for collaborative research with graduate students


BOWLING GREEN, O.-Dr. L. Fleming Fallon, a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Public Health in the College of Health and Human Services at Bowling Green State University, received the President's Award for Collaborative Research and Creative Work at the Faculty Recognition Awards April 10.

The award recognizes innovative research and creative work conducted by faculty members in collaboration with graduate students. The $5,000 award included $2,500 for continued collaborative research activities with BGSU graduate students, and a $2,500 cash award.

Fallon and 26 of his graduate students in his summer 2012 and spring 2013 public health classes were nominated for their project called "Health, Wellness and Insurance Innovations." They were charged with designing specific health promotion interventions and developing a proposed salary band system for determining the employee cost of medical insurance at BGSU.

Their research found that the development of a new approach to employee health-care contributions, if implemented, would provide a reduction in premiums for over 50 percent of BGSU employees. The students presented their findings, along with an interactive software tool, to the Office of Human Resources, BGSU president Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey and her Cabinet.

Dr. Christopher Dunn, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Services, said that students "clearly thought that Dr. Fallon's instructional approach using problem-based learning was highly superior to other modes of instruction."

Fallon believes that social skills are best learned by firsthand experience. So do his students. "The skills I acquired throughout the composition of the project are infinitely more valuable in comparison to the presentation itself," wrote John Burkley, a current graduate student at BGSU. "Not only did I gain an understanding of the concepts we learned in the classroom, I was given the opportunity to apply them to real-life situations."

Eric Brown, a graduate student involved in the project, noted that he not only received "practical knowledge" from the project, but also "team-based learning, problem-solving and conflict management skills." He wrote that he gained self-confidence, knowing he had transformed an idea into something concrete.

Fallon is dedicated to giving his students applicable skills and experience. "For my students, my primary goal is to design a project that reflects real life and will have some utility."

(Posted April 11, 2013 )