December 18, 2018  

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Southern Miss Faculty Member Integrates Humanities into Nutrition Courses

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Dr. Holly Huye

The University of Southern Mississippi has awarded a teaching grant to Dr. Holly Huye, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems, for her proposal “Integrating the Humanities across the Nutrition and Dietetics Curriculum: An Active Learning Experience for Students and Faculty.”

“This approach not only addresses student learning of course content, but also improves their critical thinking skills and ultimately will improve patient care,” said Huye. “Students will learn to be empathetic practitioners who carefully assess and consider patient or client perspectives.”

Huye’s approach also earned her the 2016 Junior Outstanding Teaching Award, to be awarded May 6 in the Trent Lott Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

Huye piloted integrating the humanities in a spring 2014 senior capstone course. Nutrition students analyzed poetry and art to understand social problems such as hunger and food insecurity.

“Each week, a poetry reading or a viewing of art work with a theme connected to hunger or food insecurity prompted class discussion about how the work reflected the issue of food deprivation,” said Huye. “Students posted journal entries about their interpretation and reaction to the work, as well as how the work related to their future professional practice.”

Dr. Elaine Molaison, chair of the department, notes this approach provides an alternative perspective to dietetics students who are traditionally science-minded.

The summer teaching grant will enable Huye to further research and develop this creative approach. She will collaborate with faculty in the College of Arts and Letters and the Learning Enhancement Center to develop humanities activities and lesson plans. Huye plans to launch the activities in various courses during the 2016-2017 academic year.

“All of the faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems are proud to have Dr. Huye recognized for her teaching at the university level,” said Molaison. “Our students are lucky to have a faculty member who is willing to take a chance with innovative techniques in the classroom to assure students are thinking at a deeper level and more prepared for the challenges they will face in patient care.”

For more information about the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems in Southern Miss College of Health, visit