Whatever It Takes for Students

With a distinguished career both in higher ed and in healthcare, Simone Cummings joined Webster in 2013 to teach finance and statistics in the Master of Health Administration program. But she quickly built a reputation at Webster as both a thoughtful academic and inspiring leader. After an international search, Cummings was selected as the next dean of the Walker School, a position she will assume in June 2017.


How would you describe your teaching style?

Start with the basic goal of ensuring each student learns the material, then you build out from there: I realize that not everyone is like me. I’m an analytical, logical person. But students use a many frames for learning: Some will want graphics and visuals. Others may need to talk things through. So I use a variety of techniques to reach them.

I believe there is no reason they can’t learn a set of material. So I’ll do whatever it takes. If it means I have to come in on a Sunday for an extra help session, I’m going to do that.

Simone Cummings leaning against blue wall

What motivates you?

I want our students to be able to go out into the healthcare field and make great decisions that move their organizations forward.

And I have high expectations for my students. Sometimes it’s painful, but at the same time this stuff is not rocket science. They can do it. They can master it, be successful, and be better for it.

What is the focus of your scholarship?

I teach finance, statistics and things of that nature as they relate to healthcare, and I used to do a lot of consulting in these areas. So my academic focus has been on health care finance, bundle pricing – these things are changing and are extremely relevant to our economy. With the new administration in the White House, we are seeing changes everyday. We’ve already seen how people don’t fully understand how integrated the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has already become in our health care system.

What makes teaching at Webster distinctive?

Having taught at a few places now, I see that Webster is a place where we are absolutely determined to take students, no matter where they are, and bring them up to a level comparable to any program at any institution.

We strive a lot harder to reach students of all backgrounds, sometimes without a traditional educational foundation, and help them become successful.

Associate Professor, Management

What are you most curious about?

People. Why people do the things they do.

What are you passionate about?

I’m excited about finance! I try to get our students to feel the same.

Like I explain to them: we live in a capitalist society. Without strong financial decisions, our foundations simply won’t function. And so in healthcare, outside of clinical care itself, finance is the most important part of our system.

What is your favorite travel destination?

I can’t say I have a favorite, or I haven’t found it yet, because I haven’t been everywhere. But every place I’ve been has been fantastic!

(Laughs) I don’t like to limit my options!

What is your superpower?

My ability to get people to buy into my ideas. (Smiles.)

What three words best describe you?

Energetic. Dynamic. A leader.

Simone Cummings, PhD

 

Trent Patterson posing in office

Walker School of Business & Technology

With three distinct departments: Business, Management and Mathematics & Computer Science, the Walker School provides students with a well-rounded education that prepares them to be dynamic thinkers and influential leaders.