By Brian Riley
Would you believe that an award-winning professor at LIU Post thinks that, “Sometimes a B is ok?” Would you also believe that this same person worked several odd jobs, including as a waitress, a baby sitter, and a bartender as she worked her way through school?
Dr. Linda Vila is an Assistant Professor of Health Care & Public Administration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a winner of the 2015 David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching.
When Vila said, “sometimes a B is ok,” she was referring to how in certain circumstances it was difficult to manage all of her school work and her job while in school. She attended Hunter College as an Honor major and an English major, followed by Brooklyn Law School where she received her Juris Doctorate. Fast forward a couple of decades, now Vila is on the other side of the coin.
Vila has won teaching awards within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and, at the entire university level, expects the same effort from her students.
“I expect students to be prepared. I understand I have a reputation, don’t come into my class without reading,” Vila said. She teaches several undergraduate and graduate classes, including, legal aspects of health care, health care management, and administrative responsibility in health care. Although Vila might be stickler for attendance, it’s for good reason.
“As a lawyer, if I’m late for court the judge is going to chastise me, and it will cost my client money that I’m late,” Vila said. Although she understands that class is not a courtroom, she attempts to make students aware of the work environment. One of her main exercises is a mock trial, in which every student is assigned a role in the case, and then the trial is played out in class.
In addition to in class work, Vila believes in field training as well. “If you’re going to be running an emergency room and you’ve never [seen] one in your life, how are you going to be the manager of it?” Vila asked. This past fall semester, she took her students to Nassau University Medical Center to get a chance to see some of the things that they talk about during class.
This varied method of teaching is what earned her the Newton Award. According to liu.edu, the award is based on “presentation, attitude, expectations of students, and professional development and knowledge.”
Vila has been at Post in varied capacities since 1996, such as working in the dean’s office, adjunct professor, and full-time professor. She only returned as a full-time professor in 2013. Vila gave up on her last high-ranking job as a senior vice president in general counsel at a healthcare network because, “I had a greater passion for teaching,” she said. This is a trait she picked up on in her career.
Vila often trained new physicians as they were getting accustomed. Vila also taught at Stanley Kaplan Test Prep while she was going to Brooklyn Law School. Although Vila has had several jobs to this point she finds comfort in teaching, and has described it as “a natural transition.”