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The Hilltop

Alumni Spotlight

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT — Howard Alumnus Turns Into Howard Professor

By Brookie Madison, Contributing Writer
Posted 2:45 PM EST, Thurs., Feb. 2, 2017

As a 2010 Howard University graduate, Michael Robinson couldn’t resist the opportunity to work at Howard University, the university responsible for his professional development. Dr. Robinson returns for the Spring 2017 semester as an adjunct professor teaching Intro to Musculoskeletal Systems in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Howard’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences.

Robinson’s desire to teach didn’t come right away. After leaving Howard, he attended Emory University in Atlanta and then completed his residency at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“It wasn’t until my graduate years and postgraduate training where I realized I wanted to teach. That’s where I got most of my training to teach and a lot of my teaching skills come from my practice as a clinician,” Robinson said.

As a professor and professional, Robinson wants to be a resource to help people become successful.

“In my day job as a therapist, I’m a resource for patients who have movement disabilities and if I can use my knowledge to help them succeed that’s gratifying. In the same way, use my knowledge as a therapist helping students trying to be a therapist. If I can help them succeed as well that is also gratifying,” Robinson said.

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Because he once was in the same seats as his students in the physical therapy department (as an undergraduate), Robinson explained how important it is to be persistent and customize his teaching for each individual person.

“Students have a lot of different ways of learning, so I try to adjust my teaching to fit student’s learning styles so individualized, customized, adaptable is what I am going for,” Robinson said.

Helping people with any orthopedic issues is what Robinson specializes, but after mentoring students at UNC at Chapel Hill, he knew teaching was where he wanted to end up to ensure security.

“My body isn’t going to last forever so getting into academia was like an idea for me to have a backup plan just in case my hands stop working and I get old,” Robinson said.

Looking towards the future, Dr. Robinson anticipates success stories from those he could help.

“When I get call back or a letter from a patient saying Michael thank you for helping me get back to dancing or get back to rock climbing that’s why I do what I do. And translating that to academia, I’m looking forward to students calling me back and saying thank you for helping me land my dream job or giving me the skills I need to open my own practice,” Robinson said.

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Being able to train first year doctor physical therapy students is Robinson’s way of paying it forward.

“This is my way of giving back to my alma mater and ensuring that students come out of this program as well prepared as I did,” Robinson said.

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