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Ballard recognized for Exceptional Moments in Teaching

James Ballard, professor of humanities, medicine and pathology at Penn State College of Medicine, is featured for May in the “Exceptional Moments in Teaching” program.

Ballard is the Jane W. and Lawrence F. Kienle Chair for Humane Medicine. He is a physician-educator, internist and clinical hematologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He plans to retire in July after 40 years of service.

Dr. James O. Ballard smiles into the camera, wearing a lab coat, collared shirt and tie.“Dr. Ballard was an exceptional humanities instructor, not only for this block but the last block as well,” wrote a current student. “He is an amazingly empathetic figure in the classroom and created an atmosphere in which all students were able to talk about difficult, personal subjects without fear of judgment. He challenged everyone to think more deeply, leading to student-led revelations about the subjects, each other and themselves. He is going to be greatly missed by our group next year.

“The college, hospital, Hershey and Penn State Health are fortunate to have gotten to work with Dr. Ballard for the last four decades. He’s earned his retirement, and our group thought it would be a kind gesture for a man too humble to ask for recognition to recognize him from the Humanities Department as an Exceptional Teacher once more.”

Ballard is associate director of the Hemophilia Center of Central Pennsylvania. From 1999 to 2002, he served as interim chair of the college’s Department of Humanities, and since 2008, his primary appointment has been in that department.

Ballard is the recipient of several teaching awards, author and co-author of both scientific and humanities publications and co-editor with Dr. Ann Hunsaker-Hawkins of Time to Go: Three Plays on Death and Dying with Commentary on End-of-Life Issues.

Penn State College of Medicine’s Office for a Respectful Learning Environment recognizes exceptional faculty members with the monthly “Exceptional Moments in Teaching” program. College of Medicine students are invited to submit narratives about faculty members, residents, nurses or any other educators who challenge them and provide an exceptional learning experience. Click here for the nomination form.

The Office for a Respectful Learning Environment fosters an educational community at Penn State College of Medicine in which all learners and educators feel supported, challenged, valued and respected. It serves all learners at the College of Medicine: medical students, graduate students, physician assistant students, residents and fellows.

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