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Instructors embark on a kirkwood journey

By Megan Johnson
On September 18, 2015

Kirkwood Community College has several new staff members this semester. Two of those instructors include Michael Barshis, chef instructor, Hospitality Arts department, and Kim Woods, nursing instructor, Nursing department. 

Barshis said he is not new to the Cedar Rapids community. He stated he lived in Cedar Rapids for five years when he was younger, before he moved to be closer to his family. Barshis is originally from a suburb north of Chicago, but said he also lived in Portland, Ore., with his wife for 10 years. Barshis said Portland has an amazing “food scene” for anyone who considers him or herself a food lover. 

Barshis stated that he went to college at the University of Iowa which is “where I got the feel for Iowa,” he said. 

Barshis said he has 20 years in hospitality experience, and when contemplating teaching, he thought to himself, “Let’s go for it!” This is his first semester teaching at Kirkwood and he said he is learning a lot every day. 

So far, Barshis said his favorite part of teaching is the interaction with students. He is looking forward to seeing them learn and grow. He said, “I hope to prepare students for careers in the hospitality industry.” 

Barshis explained how excited he is to be a part of Kirkwood, and everyone he has met so far has been very welcoming. 

Barshis has many hobbies outside of hospitality and cooking. He  stated that he loves to “spend time with my family, hike and swim.” Barshis also brews his own beer at home for his family and friends. He said that brewing is a lot of fun. However, with a two-year-old daughter at home and another child on the way, he has put brewing on the back burner.

This semester, Barshis said he wants his students to “stay engaged and benefit” from his instruction. He stated that one of his goals this semester is keeping a fun and interactive learning environment. 

Student engagement is also important to Woods, who is in a new full-time position in the Nursing department at Kirkwood.  Woods worked part-time in clinical lab instruction and simulation for five years before she decided to take on a full-time instructor position this semester. 

Woods explained how students are her passion. “I love to see them actually become nurses,” she said. She added that seeing the “light bulb go off” for students in the classroom is her favorite part of teaching. She said she loves it when she can tell students really understand the material and can apply it to real life situations. 

Woods stated she has lived in Cedar Rapids for 20 years, and she loves Kirkwood’s Nursing program. She said the program “meets the needs of such a wide variety of students here” and she wanted to be part of that.  

Originally from Clarmont, Iowa, Woods earned her B.A. at Iowa State in Family Services, and her Masters at Allen Nursing College in Waterloo. 

Woods said her favorite assignment she gives students is an observation that must be completed in a hospital. She stated that students must explain their experiences to her. She said she enjoys hearing students talk about cardiac catheterization, a procedure that involves a tube being inserted through the veins of the patient, eventually reaching the heart. 

Another aspect of nursing Woods said is important is mental health. She said she hopes the students in her mental health class “understand how the concepts of mental health nursing fit into every area of nursing.” She added that mental health is a huge part of nursing. 

Woods explained how she loves to “watch, not play” football.  She also enjoys 

reading mysteries, scrapbooking and traveling in her spare time. She also loves visiting her daughter, who just moved to Califronia. Woods has been all over the country, including to states like California, Florida, Alabama and Colorado. She hopes someday to make it to the east coast. 

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