The Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology boasts a robust teaching mission dedicated to graduate and professional education. Our faculty employ evidence-based teaching practices aimed at promoting active, student-centered learning, and engage in scholarship in order to advance the study and practice of anatomical sciences and neuroscience education.
In the Classroom and Beyond
A scholarly approach to teaching
With a vast didactic teaching mission in the anatomical sciences and neuroscience, the department serves numerous graduate and professional programs within the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.
Our faculty endorse a scholarly approach to educating through the promotion of best teaching practices informed by the graduate, medical and dental education literature. With the goal of informing future pedagogy, we approach the development and implementation of innovative instructional methodologies in a systemic and intentional manner. Methods include:
Integrating basic science instruction with clinical practice to apply anatomical and neuroscience knowledge to patient care.
Assessing student perceptions and effectiveness of a comprehensive longitudinal exercise spanning the preclinical curriculum that embeds clinical context (e.g. patient charting, physical exams, radiology, CT scans, pathology sample analysis and grand rounds presentation) into cadaver gross anatomy exercises by approaching the cadaver as the students’ “first patient.”
Development of a curriculum in which medical school gross anatomy cadavers were CT scanned prior to dissection, and images were correlated both to labelled atlas images and to direct structural observations of those same cadavers during dissection.
This collaboration with the Department of Radiology was awarded the 2019 VCU SOM Educational Innovation Award.
Educational Resource Development
Teaching faculty also focus considerable efforts on creating educational materials for graduate and professional students, most notably an open source digital histology website. This resource combines a digital atlas with extensive descriptive text to teach histology in lieu of traditional microscope laboratories.
Other examples include:
- Instructional videos/screencasts for use in a flipped classroom model
- Gross anatomy cadaver dissection videos
- Self-study learning modules with assessments
- Small group case-based and guided inquiry exercises
- Harrell KM and Dudek RW. Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews: Anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2018; ISBN: 1496355474
- Alice Pakurar and John Bigbee. Digital Histology: An Interactive CD Atlas with Review Text., 1st (2004) & 2nd (2009) eds. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. ISBN: 0470475390
- George Leichnetz. Digital Histology: An Interactive CD Atlas with Review Text. Wiley-Liss, 2006; ISBN: 0470040009