Teacher Appreciation Week Profile: Dr. Paul Clements Thursday, May 09, 2013 Teacher Appreciation Week Profile: Dr. Paul ClementsMay 9, 2013Dr. Paul Clements, associate clinical professor in the Division of Graduate Nursing Advanced Role M.S.N. Department, is a forensic and psychiatric clinical specialist, certified gang specialist, and a distinguished fellow of the International Association of Forensic Nurses. He also serves as the coordinator of the Contemporary Trends in Forensic Healthcare Certificate Program at the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP).Clements’ teaching career began in 1993 and he embarked on his first foray into the online education format in 2000 at the University of New Mexico. After commuting 75 long miles back and forth each way to his teaching job, he transitioned to teaching nursing honors students from a distance. At the time, Clements carried a pager in case his colleagues at the University needed him to come in to the office. One of the first thoughts that he had as a distance learning professor was, “This online stuff is a lot of work!”Now a faculty member in the CNHP online nursing programs, Clements has recognized the online format as “a clear preference” due to its flexibility. “It’s more constructivist than face-to-face because it forces students to delve deeper into the materials on their own,” he said. “It forces all of us to examine our ability to communicate with each other.”In addition to benefits like flexibility, deeper exploration of concepts and materials, and improved communication, Clements believes that online education provides participants with a greater amount of diversity than they would encounter in a traditional classroom setting. Students can access their courses from virtually anywhere, meaning that the nursing and other online programs often enroll students from many different states, as well as from other countries. “The diversity makes us all think outside of the box and the walls that divide us come down,” he explained. During one of his courses, students discussed their own attitudes toward punishment. They discovered that their diverse backgrounds, locales, and sets of experiences impacted their views and made them different.