Critical Pedagogy for Health Professions and International Learning Experiences


  • Courtney Queen
  • Sarah Schiffecker Texas Tech University
  • Valerie Osland Paton



health education, international experiences, experiential learning, community-based education


Experiential and community-based learning is common in health sciences education as a transition from conceptual level coursework to application of learning at the practical and practice levels. Programs typically focus on knowledge acquisition and obtaining a conceptual level understanding of the material for the initial curriculum, followed by experiential learning and application of that conceptual knowledge in a clinical setting. To address the nuances of health sciences education in the international, community-based context, this study proposes a pathway to facilitating the adoption of a new critical pedagogy accounting for an increasingly globalized and connected world and the need for mediation of the relationship between learning theory and global health education. Bierema’s (2018) models are commonly utilized in health education during the initial curricular stages and are discussed, while Kolb’s (1984) interpretation of Kurt Lewin’s experiential learning theory is offered as the appropriate conceptualization to support the development of a critical pedagogy for international, community-based health education learning experiences.  As part of this pedagogy, relevant, foundational theoretical approach to students` experiential learning should support critical observation and reflection. We recommend that educators provide practice-based education that focuses on improved outcomes of experiential learning so that learners do not just recreate their own lived experiences of order, structure and power, instead to use a critical pedagogical approach which allows learners to examine their own social conditioning and biases so that they are empowered to engage, work and live across cultures.


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Author Biographies

Courtney Queen

Courtney Queen, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Her research focuses on building capacity and relationships with medically underserved communities, both internationally and nationally. Dr. Queen has acquired over $3million USD toward support for research and community-based capacity building projects including from the European Union PHARE program for institution building. Her National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation-funded research concerns developing the technology for the early detection of Buruli ulcer, a neglected tropical disease and, most recently, melanoma. Dr. Queen is a co-founder and President of Advanced Codex Solutions, LLC, a company that she founded with her collaborating investigators. Dr. Queen is a Fulbright Scholar, a NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities scholar and Health Equity Leadership (HELI) scholar. She has received the Outstanding Faculty of the Year and the Dean’s Award for Teaching in Public Health.


Valerie Osland Paton

Valerie Osland Paton, Ph.D., serves as professor of higher education at Texas Tech University. She has taught students in online learning contexts at the graduate level. In addition to teaching, her scholarship has included student self-regulation and communication in online learning environments. In her administrative roles as senior vice provost at TTUHSC El Paso, vice provost and interim dean of the University College at Texas Tech, she has led assessment and planning process for academic programs and co-curricular resources in general academic and health science context.




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How to Cite

Queen, C., Schiffecker, S. ., & Osland Paton, V. (2022). Critical Pedagogy for Health Professions and International Learning Experiences. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(2).