Faculty Spotlight: Ajaya Williams – School of Education & Human Development

Faculty Spotlight: Ajaya Williams

Learn how Dr. Ajaya Williams started her athletic training career in this faculty spotlight!

Dr. Ajaya Williams

  • Clinical Education Coordinator/Lecturer at the School of Education and Human Development 
  • Lecturer Clinical Lab, Responding to Emergencies, Personal & Community Health, Senior Seminar
  • Ed.D. in Health Education from Teachers College
Tell us about your path to becoming a professor.

I started my athletic training career working clinically in the college setting for 12 years. After receiving my degree from Teachers College in New York in health education, I decided to look into adjunct positions in athletic training programs.

Which class do you enjoy teaching most and why?

I have two that have become dear to me. I love my Responding to Emergencies course because it allows me to combine clinical techniques and lecture. Integrating interprofessional aspects allows an opportunity for students to see firsthand the medical team we work with on a daily basis. The second course is Personal and Community Health. We look at everyday topics of health and put an athletic training spin on it. Topics include diet and mental health issues and the fundamental role we play as athletic trainers in understanding these topics as a resource to our athletes or patients. I've also incorporated a community service project, through which students consider community health needs vital in the Miami area and create an intervention based on researched information.

How does what you teach your students relate to their life?

The athletic training undergraduate degree is one of the few allied health degrees from which graduates can directly enter the workforce once they pass the board exam. They don't need an additional degree. Our program exposes students to varying clinical settings and helps them assess where they see themselves after graduation while being mentored for their chosen setting.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is grounded in student-centered learning. Education is most effective when the teacher and student collaborate. I take great pride in mentoring students and facilitating their growth in skills and practices that will enable lifelong learning. I hope to challenge students and watch them grow, putting their interest at the forefront and acknowledging their voice as central to the learning experience.

What drives you as a professor?

Enjoying my students and what they have to offer is critical for me. I believe students should be able to function in a safe environment that is inclusive, fair, and nondiscriminatory. Being able to prepare your classroom with the students' needs in mind creates an atmosphere that leads to a more meaningful and inviting learning environment.

What advice do you have for someone thinking of going into this field of study?

You need to have a level of compassion, empathy, and patience as an athletic trainer. We are professionals challenged with placing others needs above our own on a daily basis. These needs can challenge your own norms and values, but you still need to find that balance in order to make the best evidence-based decision regarding your patient's care.

By: Dr. Ajaya Williams