Dr. Gail Rice is a professor at Loma Linda University, where she directs faculty development for the campus. She has held professorial positions at four universities in seven schools or departments and has graduate degrees in nursing, public health education, educational psychology and higher education administration and leadership. She serves on several editorial boards for professional journals and boards for professional societies. Dr. Rice developed expertise in testing through her service on the governing board of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., where her committee developed and oversaw the administration of the Certified Health Education Specialist exams over a five-year period. Gail is a member of the faculty for the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Education in the Health Professions and presents regularly for the annual USC Keck School of Medicine’s Innovations in Medical Education conference.

Curriculum Vitae

What Others Said:

“This well written guide provides teachers with the practical skills required to promote and ensure learning.  The classic lecture format can be transformed to promote student engagement and learning when it is enriched with the powerful strategies grounded in cognitive science presented here. This book is a worthy addition to every teacher’s library.”
Elizabeth G. Armstrong, Ph.D.
Director Harvard Macy Institute
Professor, Part- time in Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School

“Gail Rice is a gifted teacher who clearly understands how to design and deliver effective learning experiences. Gail’s new book is not only engaging to read, but will be immediately useful to any faculty member wishing to help students better understand and retain what is taught. Interesting stories enhance and support the many evidence-based methods that can be put into immediate practice. After reading this book, faculty members are likely to change their teaching styles forever, starting by simply Hitting Pause.”
Dixie L Fisher, PhD
Assistant Professor Clinical, Research and Faculty Development,
Department of Medical Education,
Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California

“In this extraordinarily helpful book, Gail Rice provides two tremendous services to college faculty. First, she draws together research and arguments from a wide range of fields in order to demonstrate that simple, brief activities in class―built around the idea of creating “pauses” for student learning―can have a major positive impact on student success. Second, she presents a wealth of thought-provoking activities that faculty could begin using in their classrooms tomorrow. No faculty member will be able to read this book and not want to get immediately back into the classroom and put some of these excellent ideas into practice. An outstanding resource for faculty and those who work in faculty development.”
James M. Lang, PhD
Professor of English, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence
Assumption College
Author, Small Teaching, 2016, Jossey Bass Pub

“In this book, Gail Rice provides an excellent marriage of evidenced-based teaching and learning with practical methods for creating student learning opportunities as they “pause” to reflect using active learning techniques. As a professor in the classroom and a faculty developer, I am excited to be able to implement and share these ideas with students and faculty. This book provides resources aimed towards student learning and success, and the format provides the reader opportunity to jump straight to the collection of “pauses” and implement quick, creative, and meaningful activities instantly.”
Charlotte Henningsen
Associate Vice President for Faculty Development in Teaching & Learning
Adventist University of Health Sciences

 As a junior faculty, Hitting Pause has been an absolute blessing. Having struggled against the dreaded death-by-lecture academic culture, I have found the thoughtful strategies suggested by Dr. Rice to reinvigorate my enthusiasm for teaching. And not just me, but my students seem more engaged in class, and offer better feedback on my courses. Before offering your next lecture, read this book.”
Peter C. Gleason, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology
Walla Walla University

“I want to thank you for your presentation at Andrews University in August of this year! (Hitting Pause: Rejuvenate your Classroom, Faculty Colloquium, Plenary Address, August 5, 2017).  I actually have over 20 years of teaching experience on the secondary level but this is only my 5th year teaching at the college level. When I started teaching at the college level I was told that I had to do most of my classes by lecture using power points because that is what college students expect. This isn’t my usual style and my course evaluations revealed that none of us were real excited about it. After listening to your presentation you empowered me to go back to teaching the way I like best. You gave me permission to not have to use power points and lectures to get the material across.  I changed my fall course in a just few days to be ready to teach Health Assessment to undergraduate nursing students the following week. Basically, I flipped the classroom and we had a ball! Even though the class started at 7:30 am the students were engaged for the entire time. Students reported learning and retaining the information much better, and test scores increased from the previous year. I would send you a copy of my course evaluation but it glows in the dark and I don’t want anyone to think it is radioactive. LOL!”
Susan Allen


“Hitting Pause by Gail Rice will appeal to faculty members who want to enhance student learning without, however, totally restructuring the way they teach.  The premise of the book is that by making small changes to lectures—basically by adding interactive pauses—teachers can “create engaging cooperative learning experiences and improve learning outcomes,” p. 16.  More specifically, Rice acknowledges her debt to two psychologists, both of St. Louis University, Karen Wilson and James H. Korn, citing these two principles from their work:  “Shorter segments of instruction are better than longer ones, and students who pause periodically to actively participate in instruction will learn better than those who don’t,” p. 4.  Significantly, the pauses involve not mere silence, but more importantly, collaborations that engage students in meaningful, often fun-filled, activities.

The book, Hitting Pause, has many strengths.  Two key ones are the research to back up Rice’s premises and the many examples to encourage implementation.

The book provides research-based evidence to support the validity of interactive pauses.  The evidence permeates the book.  It appears up-front in several introductory chapters that outline the many benefits of pausing, including student peer feedback to reinforce learning and the retention of learning through student interactions.  Rice explores concepts from cognitive science that maximize these benefits:  (1) creating a positive learning environment; (2) promoting metacognition through pauses that encourage students to think about their learning;  and, (3) adding  surprise and unpredictability through effective pauses.  Subsequent chapter headings emphasize the benefits of the three pauses tied to their timing in the lecture:  Chapter 3: Starting Pauses Focus Attention; Chapter 4: Middle Pauses Refocus Attention; and, Chapter 5: Closing Pauses Capture Learning.  These three chapters, like earlier ones, also illustrate different pauses by offering specific examples.  Two additional chapters provide evidence for the value of opening and closing pauses, punctuated with clear, engaging examples.

As noted, these numerous easy-to-implement examples will encourage faculty members to adapt Rice’s suggestions.  Icing on the cake are 65 final examples, broken down by their placement in the lecture, 23 starting pauses, 14 middle pauses, and 26 closing pauses.  These are all systematically laid out with headings such as “setting for use”; “characteristics”; ”procedure”; “additional suggestions” ;  “online adaption”; and “key references and resources.”  It is particularly refreshing to see the attention paid to online learning settings, a facet of teaching approaches often overlooked.

A third and final strength rests on the book’s high literacy:  it is well-written.  The examples are clear and often illustrated by explanatory diagrams.  Anecdotes of genuine teaching scenarios are bolstered by interesting, informative dialogue.

In summary, this informative book, Hitting Pause, should prove useful to faculty members who are just starting out, but it should also be an inspiration to experienced teachers who want to enhance the lecture approach they are already familiar with.    

Hitting Pause provides convincing, well-researched, and carefully explained examples of interactive pauses that can be easily inserted into lectures to promote student learning.”

“Faculty members seeking an easy-to-implement approach to increased student learning will find this book both informative and inspiring.”

Hitting Pause offers over 75 engaging examples of interactive pauses that faculty members at any stage in their careers can adopt and adapt to make their lectures more engaging and effective.”
Barbara J. Millis
Author and Faculty Development Consultant
Retired, Teaching and Learning Center, University of Texas at San Antonio