Dr. Bernard Han: Q and A about teaching and technology

Dr. Bernard Han

Dr. Bernard HanDr. Bernard Han, professor of computer information systems and co-director of the health informatics and information technology program, has spent 21 years at Western Michigan University, teaching, researching and working to support student development. We sat down with him for a Q and A about his passion for technology and his focus on student learning.

What courses do you teach? What is your favorite course you have taught and why?

I have taught many courses including Business Information Technology, System Analysis and Design, Business Database Management, ERP Programming, and Enterprise Project Development. I really enjoy teaching Enterprise Project Development, a class that challenges both the instructor and students to solve real-world problems by developing a computer application that matches the customer’s needs. This project brings value to the project sponsor, usually a local firm, as well as to students. Students learn how to deliver a prototype by using knowledge and skills acquired from other courses, and the sponsor walks away with a solution to their technology issue.

What are your research interests? Why are you interested in these research areas?

My research interests cover a broad range, from system modeling to healthcare management. With my early training in mathematics, I was using modeling to tackle system design and database management issues. In the past 10 years, I have become more interested in improving student learning and education, particularly in the area of healthcare management. Technology is powerful. My recent research work gives me the opportunity to find ways to improve healthcare and resource management by using health information technologies.

What is your favorite part of your role?

I enjoy working with talented students and encouraging them to work hard to pursue excellence in their future careers. Because I gained so much throughout my education, I really want to provide help for students who have talent but need guidance. As a professor, I cannot hide my excitement when students become successful upon completing their degrees; it is very rewarding to be a part of that experience.

What are you passionate about?

As an educator, I am passionate about using my research results to improve my teaching. During the past 10 years, I have also become passionate about developing a new interdisciplinary curriculum that pools knowledge from both healthcare and information technology to educate students for meeting industry needs. Our healthcare providers need a workforce with adequate information technology training. Our Health Informatics and Information Management major can be at the forefront of helping students to gain insight about career opportunities in this field.

How do you define student success and success for yourself?

A student’s success is composed of three components—emotional intelligence, people skills, and intellectual training. If a student can have a balanced capacity in these three areas, then this often leads to success. For me, if I gain students’ positive evaluations in teaching and have a productive research record, along with effective mentorship of new faculty members, then I am successful.

Why is the Haworth College of Business a special place?

I have been at the college for more than two decades. It is a place that provides the environment I need to balance my teaching with research. The college has allowed me to take on varied roles, including department chair from 2003 to 2009, where I learned how to be an administrator and to understand the needs of my colleagues. In addition, I have had great opportunities to develop new programs such as telecommunication and information management and health informatics and information management.

More about Han

Han is director of the Center of Health Information Technology Advancement and the co-chair of the Fifth International Conference on Health Information Technology Advancement (ICHITA-2019). The 2019 conference theme is “Transitioning to Smart Care: Challenges, Strategies, and Solutions.”