The Learning Community at GCU

By Dr. Will Primack, M.D.

kids in classroom raising their hands

When I walk into my 7 am pathophysiology class, I see enthusiastic and motivated students. It was not like this during the first week of class, though, because the typical college student thinks that if they are simply present in class and catching a few ZZZ’s, then they will be able to pass with flying colors.

Not so at Grand Canyon University!


There is no learning by osmosis in my classroom! Every moment is an opportunity for all students to prove to me and their classmates that they have mastered the day’s lesson. My classroom is a place that I want my students to feel safe to make mistakes.

Trust me, waking up when it is still dark out, driving to work in the dark and walking across campus in the cold, before the sun has risen, is no fun at all, for me or for my students!

But, when I walk into the classroom and see the potential doctors, nurses, physician assistants, dentists, physical therapists, pharmacists and veterinarians feverously reviewing the previous day’s concepts, I am reminded about how fortunate I am to be a professor at GCU.

Learning in the Classroom

Every day, I witness students who are hungry for knowledge and want to learn as much as possible about the intricacies of the human body. How inspiring it is to watch students help and encourage one another rather than competing against their classmates.

At first, it is difficult for some students to buy into the paradigm that we are all in this together and that only by giving will we receive. This was also counterintuitive to me as well, since I went to a college where classes were all curved and students were fighting against one another for a top grade. I wish that I could have been a member of the very classroom and learning community that I teach in today, in which students create patient case studies in order to assess whether they have merely memorized an obscure factoid about a given disease or can apply their newfound knowledge to a real-life scenario.

What it all comes down to is preparing my students to enter into the next phase of their careers as confident, humble and competent health care providers.

Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology prepares students to grow and learn in their field. To learn more about GCU’s health programs, visit our website or request more information by using the button at the top of the page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.