HAPS Leadership (#9): Eastern Regional Director

(I asked Javni Mody what it’s been like as a member of the HAPS leadership.)

1218 (1) shyIn 1993 I was still a rookie professor teaching anatomy and physiology. I thought I should spread my wings a bit more and do some networking.  One of my colleagues was a member of the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) and she talked very fondly about the organization, so I thought maybe I would attend a HAPS annual meeting.  She could not attend the 1995 meeting that year, so I was all alone when I reached St. Louis.  Being  a shy person, I thought that  for next five days I would not be talking to anybody and would be eating meals in my hotel room all by myself!!!

What I had in store for me for next five days was a big pleasant surprise.  I do not remember initiating a conversation; people kept coming up to me, introducing themselves and asking me if I would like to join them for a meal!!!  That is when my addiction to HAPS began.  I attended several HAPS annual conferences before realizing what was meant by the “HAPS Leadership”.  I always thought that Monday morning business meetings during the conferences were for people who had to do some “business” with HAPS,while it meant “to sleep in” for me!!!

I was asked to chair the Regional Conference Committee a few years down the line after joining HAPS.  After serving that committee for four years, I decided to serve HAPS as the Marketing Manager.  Having no business experience, I was pretty apprehensive at first but it was a great experience for me.  I got a chance to work as a bridge between HAPS and the vendors.  At the pleading of my darling husband, I took a year off from HAPS leadership, but my addiction caught up with me and I decided to run for the office of Eastern Regional Director and the rest is the history!!!!!

As the Marketing Manager, I had worked closely with the board, but I still did not have the full comprehension of what exactly goes on “behind the scenes” to run this big an organization mainly by volunteers.  Getting involved with the HAPS leadership has been a wonderful experience for me.  As board members we meet twice a year in person, but we have e-meetings every month, which conclude with a video conference on a Sunday night.  This has interrupted several of my social plans, but seeing other board members on the video chat and discussing matters which are important to the organization makes up for it.  In my opinion HAPS members are some of the kindest people I have known.  One of my duties as the regional director is to send a Regional Director’s letter to the HAPS members in my region.  So many members send me a note of gratitude for keeping them informed after reading that letter!!!

Keeping in touch with you!
Keeping in touch with you!

Being on the Board has given me an opportunity to give something back to the organization that I love so dearly!!!

Javni Mody

HAPS Eastern Regional Director

HAPS Leadership (#5): Western Regional Director

Checking phone messages. “Hi Anne, this is Caryl Tickner from HAPS. I’d like to talk with you about running for a position on the Board…”  Hmmm, Really?

Anne Geller, our W.R.D.
Anne Geller, our W.R.D.

I sort of fell into teaching as a second career around 18 years ago now (can it really be that long?). My colleague at the time introduced me to HAPS, and I attended my first annual conference in Portland, Oregon in 1996. Like many of you, I was immediately hooked. What a great way to learn how to teach from so many experts, and better yet, to make lifelong friends who were as passionate about the human body as I was (and also great fun to hang out with). I was a dedicated HAPSter, but running for Western Regional Director on the Board of Directors? Why would they even ask me? What could I possibly have to contribute?

According to our P&P, (which I learned stood for Policies and Procedures, our guideline manual), a Regional Director’s duties include:

  • Serving as a voting member on the Board of Directors for a two-year term, and along with other Board members, establishing and managing the policies and affairs of the Society.
  • Serving as the representative of a HAPS Region, acting as a liaison between his/her constituency and the Board of Directors.
  • Promoting increased involvement of the region’s membership in the activities of the Society.
  • Communicating with his/her constituency via email at least once annually.
  • Serving as a member of the Membership Committee and the Regional Conference Committee to promote local and regional conferences in his/her respective regions with the goal of soliciting one such conference per two-year term.
  • Attending Board of Director meetings held in mid-year and in conjunction with the Annual Conference, the Annual General Meeting held in conjunction with the Annual Conference and any Regional Conferences in their region for the purpose of welcoming attendees and promoting membership in HAPS.

I am now in my last year as the Western Regional Director, having been re-elected to a second (and final) term. Getting involved with the leadership of HAPS has been a wonderful experience. There’s much that goes on “behind the scenes” to keep it running smoothly that I would have never known about, had I not been on the Board. And considering that we only have two paid positions (Executive Director and Business Services), this organization of 1700 members is, and always will be, run by a dedicated, ever-changing group of volunteers. I’ve had the opportunity to meet even more talented, creative A&P instructors as a representative at conferences, and been able to promote HAPS to potential new members. Being on the Board has given me an opportunity to give something back to this fabulous organization that embraced me and mentored me as a new faculty member 18 years ago, and whose members continue to inspire me to become a better A&P instructor.

Dive in and experience the thrill!
Dive in and experience the thrill!

So if you ever get “the call”, I hope that you will consider saying yes; because what I’ve learned over these past three and 1/2 years is that we all have something to contribute, and I can honestly say that I’ve gotten more from this experience than I ever thought I would.

HAPS Leadership (#4): Treasurer

Let's go for a ride!
It’s been an amazing ride!

Take it from the Money Honey, keeping track of HAPS’ finances is a complicated yet very rewarding experience.  Elizabeth Becker has been the Treasurer for HAPS since 2008 and is still finding excitement in each year.  Having said that, Elizabeth has decided to step down as Treasurer at the end of this term, but not before she gets to tell you about her experience within the HAPS Board of Directors.

Elizabeth has been an active member of HAPS for a number of years.  She has previously served on the Safety Committee and as the Central Regional Director (2002-2006).  Those experiences allowed Elizabeth to see HAPS from a broader perspective.  She got to see the “behind the scenes” activities that allow the organization to survive and thrive.  We’ve been busy these past two years, revamping the HAPS website.  Elizabeth has been able to see the work that all of the Board has put into it, especially Dee Silverthorn and Peter English.  She’s been able to see the organization grow with the hiring of ASG as our management firm and Peter English as our Executive Director.  She’s been able to see the creation and management of a number of regional and annual conferences.

What didn’t you expect when you were elected Treasurer?

The technological changes that we’ve gone through.  The Board has used technology to run our monthly meetings, progressing through teleconferences, online forums, Skype, and now Google Docs.  Technology has made her job as treasurer easier as well.  When she started, all conference registrations were mailed in and all checks crossed her desk.  Now, we have online registration and most checks can be cleared through ASG (she still oversees any payments to ASG itself and approves any payments above a certain monetary level).

Describe a benefit of being HAPS Treasurer.

The view.  It’s been amazing to see the complexity and organization of HAPS.  It’s been incredible to see the financial structure and understand how to help keep it healthy.  The Las Vegas conference taught us a lot of about hidden costs in a conference, which has helped us to (hopefully) prevent future surprises.  Incidentally, Jacksonville is shaping up so well and will be an amazing treat come this next May.

What advice do you have for the next Treasurer of HAPS?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Between Peter and ASG, you have resources to help you understand the financial picture of HAPS.  You get to be the expert on the HAPS budget for the Board, so you can help others understand what is necessary to keep us afloat.  You have to be able to see the organization as a whole, but also willing to sweat the details.  You have to be willing to ask “Why are we paying for this?” when presented with a bill.  It’s a good way to understand how well HAPS can work and what we can do for it.

Rub my belly now!
Rub my belly now!

Elizabeth would tell you more, but Thai is covering her keyboard and making it clear that it’s time for a tummy-scratching.  Thanks, Elizabeth.

HAPS Leadership (#1): The president-elect

Meet the HAPS Board of Directors
Meet the HAPS Board of Directors

Our president, Valerie O’Loughlin, blogged recently about our mid-year meeting in Jacksonville.  She explained how the Board of Directors (BOD) and the Steering Committee (SC) meet for an extended weekend to get a lot of work done.  It was a very productive time, allowing us to clearly work through the budget for this year, see the status of work on the 2014 Annual Conference in Jacksonville, begin our next round of Strategic Planning meetings, and anticipate any other business that might crop up in the coming months.  We got a lot done, but we also enjoyed each other’s company and renewed bonds of friendship and camaraderie that reinforces why we took on these leadership roles.  As the president-elect, I observed Valerie lead the meetings and offered input when I could.  Until this year, I had been the Chair of the Steering Committee for a number of years, so I was quite familiar with the workings of the mid-year meeting.  However, I have to admit it was strange to now be part of the “Executive Branch” after several years in the “Legislative Branch“.

One of the topics that was discussed during the mid-year meeting was this Blog.  There has been a lot of enthusiasm for this blog and we wish to keep making it as useful as possible.  One original purpose of the blog was to give everyone a peek into the workings of the HAPS leadership.  We realized that we had lost some of that direction.  So, here I am.

As president-elect, one of my tasks will be to offer you a view of the leaders of the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society.  I’ll be posting each Wednesday on a different position within the BOD or SC, offering you some insight into their work as well as their personality.  I’ll be interviewing the various HAPS leaders, letting them offer you their take on their position, what they have put into it, and what they have gained from it.  Willing to put my money where my mouth is, I volunteered to be the topic of the first entry in this blog series.

At the 2013 Annual HAPS Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I was elected as the president-elect for HAPS.  That translates into a 3-year commitment.  During this current academic year, I am the president-elect.  My main job is to learn how to be the president.  I attend the monthly e-meetings, keep up on the email chatter, and field occasional phone calls within the BOD and SC.  I participate in discussions led by our president while anticipating how I will lead the Society in the coming year.  During the 2014-2015 year, I will be the President, taking the helm of this incredible organization.  I will set the agendas for the BOD meetings, interact with other educational societies, and develop President’s Initiatives for my tenure (I’ll let President Valerie tell you more about that idea in her blog entry).  My year as president will culminate with presiding over the 2015 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  During the 2015-2016, I will serve as Past President, updating the Policy & Procedures manual while offering advice and institutional memory to the new President of HAPS.  That’s sums up my three years in a nutshell.

BallotThere is one other major duty that I have as president-elect.  I serve as the Chairman of the Nominating Committee.  I gather a committee of individuals to create a slate of candidates for next year’s elections.  The four positions on the BOD that will be up for election are President, Treasurer, Western Regional Director, and Eastern Regional Director.  We’ll contact individuals, asking if they would be interested in running for these various positions.  After we’ve cajoled and bribed enough people to fill the slate, we’ll put together a ballot on the website.  It will be open for your vote during the spring, with the winners of the various races announced before the next Annual Conference.


It is so exciting to be part of the HAPS leadership.  I could go on and on, but I know when it’s time to stop and take a breath.  If you have any questions about the HAPS leadership, feel free to email me at TLehman@HAPSConnect.org.  Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for the next entry in this blog.  Next week, I’ll tell you about two gentlemen who are doing incredible things with test questions.

HAPS Midyear meeting – where, when, and why?

Planning for HAPS 2014 requires a midyear meeting of the HAPS leadership in 2013!

One of my jobs as HAPS President to plan the agenda for the HAPS Midyear meeting.  This meeting is an opportunity for the Board of Directors (BOD)and the Steering Committee (SC) to meet face-to-face to discuss HAPS business.  We typically meet in mid-October over the weekend, and the agenda is packed.  The location of the meetings varies, but we typically try to hold the meeting in the same city and hotel that the next HAPS annual conference will be.  This gives the leadership an opportunity to ‘check out’ our conference locations and do additional planning for the upcoming annual conference.  So, this year, we are traveling down to Jacksonville and staying at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

Our meeting is this weekend, and I leave for the trip tomorrow (if i forget to pack anything important for the trip, I blame waiting until the last minute to write this blog entry).  The BOD members arrive Thursday evening in preparation for our all-day meeting on Friday.  By Friday evening, most of the Steering committee arrives.  Then, on Saturday, the Board and Steering Committee meet all day to finalize additional business before we leave for home on Sunday.

‘Why do you all need to meet face to face?’ you ask?  Both the BOD and SC each have monthly e-meetings, where we use an asynchronous discussion forum to discuss HAPS business.  In addition, the BOD has a monthly conference call to continue discussing the items brought up in our e-meetings.  We get a lot of stuff done during these e-meetings and conference calls, but these formats have their limitations.  There is some business that simply needs to be discussed  face-to-face, or over a longer time than a typical conference call lasts.  Our ‘physical’ meetings can be much more productive than our ‘virtual’ meetings because we are able to focus on HAPS (instead of our teaching responsibilities, family duties and upcoming deadlines).  Some of the business we discuss includes continued planning for the annual conference,  HAPS-I course development, finalizing and approving the organization’s yearly budget, and brainstorming the future of the organization.

The midyear meeting gives us a chance to reconnect and remember what makes HAPS so special – it is the long-term friendships with each other and our shared commitment to excellence in A&P education.  After our meetings, we get together for dinner and share a laugh or two (or 100).  I always leave a midyear meeting feeling like I left my 2nd family, and am energized to take HAPS to its next level.

So when people ask me why I volunteered for HAPS leadership positions and ran for President, these are some of the reasons why – I get to be a part of the growth and development of an organization I love, and do this with people I consider my second family.  🙂  It is a tough job, but one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had!

Cooperative Quizzes – The First Step To Flip Your Classroom

Most of us in HAPS thrived in high school, college, and even graduate school classrooms that were driven by educators who lectured.  At the start of class, the instructors would walk into the room and begin to talk .. draw on the whiteboard .. talk .. show a slide.. and talk some more.  A few lectures were dynamic and inspiring while others provided opportunities to read the school newspaper.  But all of us survived our student years  – and we learned quite a bit of anatomy and physiology in the process.

Now we’re the educators and find ourselves on the other side of the desks. Sadly, most of us are obeying the first rule of education: teach the way you’ve been taught.  If you experienced lectures as a student, well, now as an instructor, you probably lecture.  There is indeed an art to lecturing – not everybody can do it.  My own lecture style took several years to develop.  Where do I stand in the room?  How fast should I talk?  How much content do I cover each day?   How many Power Point slides do I show?  Should I tell a joke or two, or make reference to pop culture? According to my student evaluations, I could lecture pretty well –even won a couple teaching awards largely through the lecture method.

Then YouTube came along.

YouTube made me think about lecture as a teaching method.  Why not just record lectures and let students watch them wherever and whenever they liked?  If students were confused by a topic, they could just go back and re-watch the video.   And if they did not like my video, they could watch one of the other hundred or so video clips on the same topic.

SO .. if lectures are on YouTube, what should happen in the classroom where I used to lecture?

This is where the notion of ‘flipping’ comes in.  Historically, students have listened to lectures during lecture time, and engaged in other activities such as group projects and study-sessions outside of lecture time.  A flipped classroom is one where students learn the basic content outside of class and then engage in group projects, discussion, etc., during in-class “lecture” time.

The concept of a flipped classroom is easy to understand.  But to actually do it is quite difficult. Two components are necessary for a successfully flipped class – instructional methods (teaching skills) & curriculum.

Instruction.  The classroom leader of a flipped classroom must have the pedagogical skill set required to facilitate student-student interactions. Because most of us have spent quite a bit of time lecturing, we are quite accustoming to talking in front of large groups of students and answering direct, and sometimes difficult, questions.  But these presentation skills, and our vast knowledge of anatomy and physiology, are typically not enough to flip a classroom.  You need a broader set of teaching skills to facilitate curiosity and independent thought in a classroom that is far more noisy and chaotic than the traditional lecture hall.

Curriculum.  These are the activities and materials that instructors use to generate student discussion and to facilitate learning.  Creating good curriculum is difficult. Sometimes the curriculum is too easy and students are bored, and sometime it’s too difficult and students are confused and frustrated.  “Dialing in” effective curriculum for students is indeed an art form.


So where to start?

This is where I recommend cooperative quizzes.

Cooperative quizzes represent an easy to develop (curriculum) / easy to implement (instruction) technique that can be viewed as a first step toward the flipped classroom.

There are two parts to a cooperative quiz:  First, students complete a quiz on an individual basis, just like a regular quiz, and turn it in.  Second, students complete the same quiz again, but this time working in groups of two, three or four, and using only one answer sheet.  Students must agree to one answer for each question, thus promoting discussion between students.  All students must put their names on this one answer sheet at the end of the quiz. Grading a cooperative quiz is completed by averaging of the individual and group scores.

(A few years back the University of Minnesota created a free, on-line, tutorial for instructors who wished to learn how to use cooperative quizzes.  )

I give one cooperative quiz every week.  Typically, the individual quiz takes about 5 minutes to complete (10 – 15 questions per quiz), and the group quiz takes a bit longer due to student discussions.  This amounts to a total of 15 minutes of class time per week, and only about 10 minutes of a “flipped” environment where students are already working in groups.  Not much, but the tone of the classroom has been changed; students learn that that they are expected to work with each other, and they begin to converse with each other using the language of the discipline.  They use words like hypoinsulinism, hyperglycemia, and diabetes in ways that help them develop a conceptual understanding of physiology.  Nice!

Flipping a classroom is difficult when you are accustomed to more traditional teaching methods such as lecture, but if you wish to take the first step, I recommend trying a cooperative quiz.

Go HERE to see a short video on how to implement cooperative quizzes

The second step?  That would be POGIL, and that’s fodder for my next HAPS Blog entry.

(Murray Jensen is a member of the HAPS Board of Directors and represents the Midwest Region.)

Old Physiology for Young Students – A Tribute, Part 1


Recently I was lucky enough to be given a very old physiology textbook from a friend in the estate sale business. The book, Applied Physiology, Primary, by Frank Overton M.D. is copyright 1898.  It is so very interesting, that I felt that I would share it with everyone via this blog. For your information, it is pretty easy to find copies for sale on the internet.


In this first installment let me discuss the audience and goal of this textbook. In future installments I will provide some of the text and images for your enlightenment. It is a true treasure to experience reading this text as it shows me what we thought we knew that we didn’t, and more interestingly to me what we knew in the late 1800’s but have chosen to ignore for over 100 years.

Here is the preface verbatim –

“This primary text book of applied…

View original post 418 more words

From HAPS President to Flipped-Classroom-Apprentice: Why I also ‘drank the kool-aid’

These past two and a half months as HAPS president have been keeping me busy.  I am in the midst of planning our mid-year meeting for the Board and Steering committee, assisting the Jacksonville committee for the HAPS 2014 planning, and attending to a whole bunch of items that I was blissfully unaware of when I was NOT President.  So, in true idiotic fashion, I decided to put even MORE on my plate – ‘let’s also ‘flip’ my undergraduate classroom of 425 students this fall!”

(I never said I was smart.)

a215learning exercisespage
A Portion of my Anatomy A215 website

Why would I attempt to do this, when i have a bunch of other items on my plate?  for starters, see the above sentence.  🙂  But more seriously, there is a growing body of research that indicates flipping the classroom improves student learning and outcomes.  There are always a small group of students that struggle with the material – and if this is a way to reach those students, then why NOT try this?  Also, I HATE a pure lecture environment where I am droning on and the students are struggling to stay awake.  As much as I would like to think I am the most fascinating person they have heard, let’s face it – there is not a lot of engagement going on this way.

In the past, I had created some interactive learning activities that we would do in the classroom (you can check them out and steal them for yourself here – click on the exam links to get to the various exercises).  These are modifications of Classroom Assessment Techniques (or CATs, as penned by Angelo and Cross) and I would do these in the class at various times for students to test their learning.  I love to use these, but I noticed that in a traditional lecture format, I always seemed to run out of time before I could do as many of these as I wanted to.  So – this semester began the flipping of the classroom.

Now unlike Wendy and Elaine (who are true transforming agents), I am taking ‘baby steps’ in this flipping approach.  For each major lecture topic, I create a 10 minute podcast that students have to watch prior to class.  (I create those in a program called Camtasia, which is SUPER easy to use and is not that expensive).  I also encourage students to use the McGraw-Hill LearnSmart learning activities prior to coming to class (full disclosure:  I am a McGraw-Hill author.  Please note that other publishers have other wonderful accessory learning activities you could have your students use).  In class, I now have extra time to do some of the learning activities I’ve linked to above,  and/or I’ve planned other interactive activities in class to reinforce concepts (such as pulling up slides from the students’ virtual microscope and having them get into groups to discuss).

How many of these plates can I keep from crashing down on my head?

Am I still ‘lecturing’?  Yes, and more so than a typical ‘flipped’ classroom would.  but remember – I am taking baby steps here.  I knew there was only so much I could do this fall with my other HAPS responsibilities and not have all of the spinning plates come crashing down upon me.  I’ll keep you posted about my ‘baby steps’, while Wendy and Elaine discuss their true transformations!

High Hopes for the Semester, part 1

I spent the summer traveling and thinking about new ideas for my courses or updates or changes to current ideas for my courses.  It was a time of great hope and great promise.

The first week of classes was a mixture of ups and downs.

We're so excited to be in your class!
We’re so excited to be in your class!

One “up” is an online exam for the prerequisite material.  We’re fortunate at my college to have a prerequisite course (BIO 181 Cell Biology) for BIO 201 Human Anatomy & Physiology I.  It weeds out most of the students who aren’t ready for a 200-level college science course.  It prepares the rest by teaching them skills and concepts to help them better prepare for A&P.  Last year, I had the idea that, since chemistry/cell/genetics were already covered in the pre-req course, I wouldn’t need to lecture on those chapters and instead have the students take an online exam over those chapters during the first week of class.  It was a rough week with technology issues, test bank issues, student frustrations, and my own adapting to these changes.  This semester looks better.  I have resources for students to aid them in reviewing the pre-req chapters in preparation for the exam.  I (try to) explain as clearly as possible in the first week what is expected in this exam and when the deadline is (Sunday midnight).  I added a new detail this time; you need to take the quiz online once before Friday noon (you get three attempts at the test bank) or you will be dropped from the roster with a full refund for the course.

Oh, woe is me.
Oh, woe is me.

The “down” was the discovery of 5 students (out of 105 in five different sections) who hadn’t even attempted the exam by Friday noon.  Once they found out that I wasn’t bluffing, each contacted me with excuses and begging for a second chance.  I let each one back into the course but emphasized what is expected of them throughout the semester.  I’m collecting data on how effective this project will be and will be happy to share it.  In the meantime, I’m watching the website for glitches, questions, and feedback.

This may sound like a harsh strategy, but I’m hoping that this will set the bar early on and help prepare the students more quickly early on.  It also frees up course time to cover material specific to A&P itself.  We’ll see if this works.