ake a look around Cary Mobley’s first-floor office at the UF College of Pharmacy and there are signs of gratitude everywhere. Thank you cards from former students fill his desk — he keeps every one of them. Gifts from Thailand, South Korea and other international destinations hang on his walls and file cabinets — a show of appreciation from former Pharm.D. and graduate students. Party hats are displayed as well — a reminder of when students arrived for an exam wearing the hats in his honor.
In nearly 30 years of teaching, Mobley has accumulated quite a collection of mementos and honors — including recognition as the University of Florida College of Pharmacy’s 2021-22 Teacher of the Year. It’s the third time he has won the award, a testament to him continuously striving to do his best for the students.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding experience made possible by a loving family and years of continuous inspiration and gratitude from so many amazing colleagues and students,” said Mobley, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of pharmaceutics. “I’m very grateful and honored the hard work put forth in teaching is recognized, valued and appreciated.”
Mobley’s impact on students can be seen throughout the curriculum. He teaches first-year drug delivery systems, skills lab, Putting Families First and patient care courses; second-year sterile compounding and patient care courses; third-year skills lab and patient care courses as well as an advanced compounding elective. He credits having a pharmacy background and Ph.D. for his ability and strong desire to bridge the gap between the basic and clinical sciences.
“It’s an incredibly rewarding experience made possible by a loving family and years of continuous inspiration and gratitude from so many amazing colleagues and students,”
Mobley’s approach to teaching is centered on the concepts of benevolence, integration and skill cultivation, particularly critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. He is committed to respecting diverse talents and different learning styles. He regularly reads literature on education, philosophy and cognitive psychology and strives to integrate what he learns from the literature, with feedback from students and colleagues, to optimize the student learning experience.
“Being an educator includes a never-ending quest to improve the learning experiences of students,” Mobley said.
He strives to create or contribute to learning experiences that recognize and respect the uniqueness of each student, encourages self-efficacy and teamwork and helps students further develop the knowledge, attitude and skills that can help them achieve their goals.
When Mobley steps into the classroom or lab with students, all other distractions “melt away,” and a state of flow emerges, where he becomes immersed in the experience. He is working toward helping students also experience that state. Part of it includes projecting a welcoming aura where students feel uninhibited to express themselves and ask questions, and he tries to interact with them with a respectful and encouraging attitude.
It’s an approach to teaching that was inspired decades ago while coaching youth sports.
“In coaching youth sports, you have to find the right words of encouragement and find unique ways for the kids to feel good about themselves,” Mobley said. “It’s very similar to teaching. You have to try to inspire students to reach their full potential.”
When his family grew older, he found coaching his kids’ soccer and basketball teams as a great escape from the rigors of academia and a way to further develop his teaching style.
As the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award, Mobley is bestowed with the Paul Doering Excellence in Teaching Professor award. He will receive discretionary funds from the endowment as well as an honorarium.