Dr. Benjamin Felson Project: Ten Axioms of Teaching and Learning

Dr. Benjamin FelsonThe Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions was fortunate to receive generous donations from both Nancy Felson and the University of Cincinnati Department of Radiology to help process the Dr. Benjamin Felson papers held here in the Center. According to a chapter in History of Medical Specialties in Cincinnati, Dr. Stanley J. Lucas wrote:

Under [Felson’s] leadership, the training program for radiologists at Cincinnati General Hospital flourished to become one of the outstanding teaching programs for Clinical Radiology in the country. In addition, Dr. Felson through his warmth of personality, teaching abilities, knowledge, sense of humor and friendship to practicing radiologists helped develop a high standard of excellence in radiology for this entire community.

Dr. Felson is remembered fondly by many of his students and colleagues here at the University. Although we are still in the beginning stages of the project, it is evident by the correspondence we have processed so far that Dr. Felson’s opinion was respected by peers and sought after by students.

One letter (seen below) jumped out because it discusses teaching and learning, which were two things that were obviously important to him. Highlights include:

  • If you like it, you’ll learn it.
  • Any method will fail if done poorly and succeed if done well.
  • Enthusiasm is the best attribute for a teacher, better than erudition, better than research expertise.

After reading the whole letter, I am curious to know if his students remember seeing these statements in action. I would love to hear stories about Dr. Felson in the classroom!

Check the blog again for more updates as we process this interesting collection. If you would like to learn more about Benjamin Felson or his papers, please contact the Winkler Center at chhp@uc.edu or (513) 558-5120.

Felson Letter
Letter from Benjamin Felson to Charles Westheimer, dated June 27, 1978. This letter discusses Dr. Felson’s “ten axioms for Teaching and Learning.”

Note
Citation for the above quote: Stanley J. Lucas, “Radiology” in History of Medical Specialties in Cincinnati, ed. Arthur G. King (Cincinnati, OH: Medical Foundation of Cincinnati, 1997): 133.