Benjamin Dotger, PhD, is a professor in the Teaching and Leadership Department at Syracuse University. He teaches education foundations courses to secondary and K-12 students, coordinates the Teaching & Curriculum master’s program, and directs clinical simulation design and implementation efforts between the School of Education and SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Clinical Skills Center. His scholarship centers on the design and study of clinical simulations within and across educator preparation disciplines, with emphasis on identity formation, discipline-specific practices, and physiological responses. This work has been supported by numerous federal and private foundations, including the Spencer Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the National Science Foundation, and the Institute for Educational Sciences.
In my spare time, I make craftsman- and mission-style furniture. This work keeps me out of trouble and gives my children shelves for their books.
Clinical simulations to enhance teacher and school leader preparation
My research examines the impact of clinical simulations on novice teacher and school leader development, across both general instructional and content-specific contexts. In partnership with nearby SUNY Upstate Medical University, I adapted the use of standardized patients and medical simulations for use in schools of education. Clinical simulations allow my colleagues and I to study how future teachers and leaders enact professional skills, dispositions, and content knowledge in direct, face-to-face interactions with standardized individuals (e.g., parents, students, paraprofessionals). Simulations represent deliberate, experiential learning that centers on meaningful problems, situations, and contexts, emphasizing knowledge and skills that transfer from pre-service preparation to in-service practice. To date, 43 different simulations support our teacher and school leader programs.
My work has been generously supported by several funding agencies, including the Spencer Foundation ($31,000), The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Campus E-nitiative ($6,000; $12,000), The U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences ($498,849), The National Science Foundation ($449,563), and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations ($199,650).