Boston University School of Medicine

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

CID Summer 2005 Convening: Developing Effective Teachers

Topic 2: Willing to Teach

This Snapshot describes how the doctoral program in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology helps motivate new teachers to cultivate effective teaching practices. Effective teachers have the passion, zeal and spirit needed to sustain the work and support commitment through difficult periods.

Summary Description

The Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology values teaching, which helps students develop as teachers! Teaching and research are interchangeable and indistinguishable. Research generates new information and teaching passes knowledge on ... to be a good steward of any discipline teaching, research and community service are integral and necessary.

We developed the Vesalius Program to train graduate students in pedagogy so they can learn the habits of mind commonly found in effective educators. This program starts with a course, "Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences", and thereafter students can apply this knowledge in the classroom, while paired with a faculty mentor. Our faculty is enthusiastic about and takes pride in their teaching; it is palpable and infectious.

The Vesalius Program
This link describes the program.

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology Web Site
Use this link to explore the Department's Teaching and Research missions.

Tools and Resources

Teaching Assistant Training and Orientation

The Vesalius Program

Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences course

Mentored teaching experiences

Developing a Teaching Portfolio

Experienced and dedicated faculty

Departmental support and enthusiasm for teaching

AN 804: Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences I

AN 805: Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences II
Mentored teaching experiences

Goals for Students

To be able to replace their teachers some day! Our philosophy is that every student receives some teaching training and some get much more, depending on their desire.

At a minimum: TA training and experience teaching in Neuroscience, Gross Anatomy and Histology; TA evaluations by faculty and students; weekly meetings during their teaching assistantships; and involvement regarding class assessment.

Other opportunities: Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences course, lecturing, review sessions, helping to develop new courses, seminar presentations and small group facilitation.

Unanswered Questions

Our participation in the CID has empowered our department to reach out to other departments and universities. How successful will our interdisciplinary research and teaching collaborations be?

Will Full Circle Mentoring continue to grow so that graduating students always feel a connection to our department and become outstanding mentors themselves?

Will our new Qualifying Exam be successful?

Will effective teaching in Neuroscience lead our graduates to satisfying career choices?

CID - Full circle mentoring
This link describes our departmental CID effort and the four core areas we are concentrating on.

How Do We Know?

Faculty evaluations

Student evaluations

Successful job placement

Recognition of teaching excellence via awards and grants

Student enthusiasm for teaching

TA Evaluation - Anatomy & Neurobiology
This is the form a Course Manager and/or faculty member uses to evaluate a graduate teaching assistant.

Program Context

We believe strongly that students want to learn and therefore we approach teaching endeavors as serious intellectual challenges, as serious and important as our research and service to the university. Teaching and research are two halves of the same coin. Research generates new information and teaching passes knowledge on to the next generation. We must train students to become future colleagues with the knowledge that they will be the scholars entrusted with the stewardship of our discipline.

Contact Information

Todd Hoagland, Ph.D., ( )

Phone: 617 638-4100

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology Web Site

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developed at the Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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