Students are fundamentally the reason for our existence as an institution. Excellence in teaching is more than simply giving lectures; it is using evidence-based strategies to develop inclusive curricula and practices that foster diversity and student success beyond the classroom.
In the years that I have been teaching animal anatomy courses in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, I have fully redesigned the undergraduate prosection (BMS305), graduate dissection (BMS531), graduate case studies (BMS633), and supervised college teaching courses (BMS384/684). I have also added a course in large animal anatomy for our veterinary students (VM795), a breakout section for our undergraduate honors students (BMS496D), and created an applied food and fiber animal anatomy course (BMS380A) in collaboration with faculty from the Department of Animal Sciences at CSU that launched in 2021. A review of these activities by Dr. John Walrond (Chair, BMS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee) is provided below. The materials provided to Dr. Walrond and other Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness for my tenure packed are available via supporting documents link below.
Although most of my teaching is in anatomy, I am still a physiologist at heart. Creating the first color edition of the enduring text Anatomy and Physiology of Farm Animals with my colleague Anna Fails was an opportunity to make a textbook a learning experience. We added learning objectives for each chapter and fillable figures for practice on an accompanying website. The Virtual Animal Anatomy (VAA) program is another enduring educational resource that can be leveraged to enhance teaching and learning. In response to the COVID pandemic and the worldwide transition to online learning, I made the VAA freely available to academic institutions, and we had more than 150 requests for access between March-April 2020 and provided the VAA to more than 12,000 students worldwide from April-June 2020. In both the pre- and post- COVID world, the VAA has become another opportunity for me to not only create enduring materials, but also share with others how to use these materials in innovative and effectively ways, fostering equity and inclusivity in the laboratory or remote learning environment.
I advise approximately 16-20 animal anatomy concentration BMS Professional Master’s students and 1-3 undergraduate Honors students each year. I also have one DVM/PhD student, mentor other faculty in our college, serve graduate committees, and participate in many outreach and teaching programs. Many of my students wish to pursue a career in veterinary medicine or are already in veterinary school. As a mentor or advisor, my role is to help individuals at any stage of their career to explore their motivations for their personal and professional goals so that they can maintain a healthy work-life balance . For my students, I hope to refocus the process of learning so that it is not about the upcoming test, current course or program, but becoming active and independent life-long learners who are able to more fully retain and integrate the knowledge that they gain from all of their experiences.