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Craig Theissen

Students’ Shoulder to Lean On: Craig Theissen

As the director of Northeast Ohio Medical University’s Learning Center, Craig Theissen has the privilege of being a part of both medicine and pharmacy students’ educational journeys.

The 10-year higher education veteran describes his job in one word: rewarding.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to help students become the best doctors or pharmacists that they can be. We hope that if they’re learning the information now really well, then maybe they’ll be the ones to help one of our family members or our communities one day down the road. The ability to advise a student in a way that pays it forward is an aligned career for me,” says Theissen.

His role as the director of NEOMED’s Learning Center is to identify strategies for students to improve their academic performance — whether it be digging themselves out of a hypothetical hole or being proactive.

A different learning experience

Theissen explains how a meeting with the Learning Center staff may be different from the meetings with advisers that students may have had in the past. Rather than picking courses out of a catalog, students receive help developing learning strategies that will foster success, such as creating sustainable study plans and identifying ways to efficiently review past content for enhanced retrieval during exams.

The Learning Center is also working to break down any negative connotations about asking for help.

“We deal with students all across the performance spectrum,” says Theissen. “It’s really about students trying to become the best academically and the best professionally that they can be.”

Putting students first

Theissen says NEOMED’s students continually impress him.

“They just amaze me. I truly marvel at how busy our medicine and pharmacy students are and their ability to handle additional responsibilities in their lives. They’re truly special,” says Theissen.

In addition to leading the Learning Center, Theissen also serves as an instructor of family and community medicine and also advises NEOMED’s Student Curriculum Council.

From interpreting academic performance scores to fielding student concerns, Theissen uses each of his roles as an opportunity to make an impact on students’ lives.