HAPS Leadership (#24): Curriculum & Instruction

140409 (1) handshake.jpgSeveral of the committees within the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) can become quite busy at times. Being chair of such a committee can be daunting. At times, we’ve addressed this issue by having two people serve as co-chairs. You’ve probably wondered what it means to be a “co-chair”, so I asked Terry Thompson and Hiranya Roychowdury what it’s been like to take over the reins of the Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) Committee.

Question: How does it feel to be part of the Steering Committee?

140409 (2) Terry ThompsonTerry: It has been an interesting transition. I’ve been part of the C&I committee for years, but it is interesting now to see the workings from the other side. I continue to be impressed with all our organization has to offer and the great people we get to work with. Peter (English) has also been a great help.

Hiranya: This is my first experience in a steering committee for this big an organization. I have been involved with HAPS since 2007, and, interestingly enough, the first person I got to meet and socialize with as a “First Timer” was Carol Veil. I had been interested in the process of Curriculum Development for quite a while, so I offered my services. She asked me to be a “Friend of the Committee” and I worked in that capacity for some time, offering occasional input. Whether it was my continued unfamiliarity with the so-called “inner circle” or my involvement more with the HAPS-EDucator, I had less time to contribute to the C&I modules. However, I was working as a liaison between the C&I and the Testing Committee (and as chair of two subcommittees under it), so I kept tab on what was going on with the Modules and was quite impressed with especially Terry’s “go-get-’em” style.

Question: What are the benefits of having co-chairs for your committee? Any challenges?

Terry: It is nice to have someone else to split up tasks and work off our strengths, and to bounce ideas off of each other. Everyone is so busy, it helps to work together and help each other. The biggest challenge comes not from being co-chairs, but from the transition to the HAPSConnect. Getting everyone comfortable working within the environment and using the google.docs has been a steep learning curve.

140409 (3) Hiranya RoychowduryHiranya: When Ron asked me if I would be interested in co-chairing with Terry, I jumped at the opportunity. It was quite an honor and I just couldn’t pass it up. So far, most of the heavy lifting has been done by Terry, so if you ask me that question, a resounding reply would be “Great! Especially if you had Terry Thompson to work with!”

Question: What is the status of the Committee?

Terry: The Learning Outcomes are now on a review cycle of 5 modules per year – at least that is our goal. We may find there aren’t any changes needed, but we wanted to set in place a review schedule so that they would be updated as needed to fit feedback and possible changes in teaching focus and strategies over time. We will also likely be adjusting them as needed to incorporate recommendations that come from the task groups, such as David’s survey results on lab outcomes and Carol’s work on using word banks. Also Wendy is reviewing current documents on recommendations related to online teaching and that may be updated as well as influence changes to learning outcomes eventually.

Hiranya: Implementing the features from HAPSConnect (Google) has been daunting, but Peter has been quite helpful in our efforts to train our committee members with these features. Terry and I have had to be flexible in assigning modules to committee members as we all learn how to navigate the new website (check it out!) and update our offerings. We’re working to update the list of web-links, so we could use some help with that project.

1525R-69047If there are any HAPSters out there interested in learning more about committee work, Learning Outcomes, and the secret handshake (originally created by Carol Veil and yoga-modified by Ron Gerrits), contact Terry and Hiranya and they’ll be happy to talk C&I with you.

HAPS Leadership (#23): Secretary to the Board

She keeps us sweet!
She keeps us sweet!

An organization lives on its documentation.  You can sink or swim depending on how well you keep track of details.  When the details are there, they help you stay focused and moving forward.  When they’re absent, you meander directionless or backtrack with no idea that you’re retreading previous trails.

Carol Veil is the Secretary for the HAPS Board of Directors.  It’s Carol’s responsibility to keep track of the documentation during meetings and help us to keep our focus.  I had a chance to chat with Carol recently and find out what she thinks of her role and of HAPS.

1.      What’s the coolest part about being the secretary?

      The two coolest things about being secretary are how much I have learned about HAPS and how much better I have gotten to know the other HAPS members on the BOD. 

      There are so many details that must be handled to run an organization like HAPS.  Prior to being on the BOD, I was unaware of the many behind-the-scenes processes that are so necessary.  And as secretary taking the notes at meetings, I am focused on everything that is discussed.  Hands always on the keyboard – no daydreaming!

      It has also been cool getting  to know the other BOD members, some of whom I previously knew by name but had never talked to them more than a quick “hello” at a conference.  It’s fun to see both the “business” and the “casual” sides of everyone.   I must give a big shout-out to President Valerie O’Loughlin and Executive Director Peter English.  They are in constant communication with the BOD (not quite daily emails, but close) and are always working hard on behalf of the organization. 

2.   What’s the biggest challenge? 

     140326 (2) F grade For me, the biggest challenge of being secretary has been learning the appropriate level of detail to include in the minutes that are publically posted for all to read.  Personally, I tend to be very “anal” (I can use that term in an A&P blog, right?) about details. The first draft of minutes that I sent to the President for review included everything that happened at the BOD Google hangout meeting short of who coughed when!   That draft came back to me like an F-student research paper, covered with 140326 (3) A gradestrike-outs and comments.   It took me until the third BOD meeting to become the A-student, with minimal edits to my minutes and a big “thank you” of approval.  The take-home message for me – there is a big difference between personal notes for myself and public minutes for an organization!  

3.  Whose name do you have the hardest time spelling?

The name I have the hardest time spelling correctly is Shannon, Shanon, Shanan (Molnar – our Business Manager from ASG).  I have to remember … only one “n” in the middle and “a-n” at the end!  I got it now! 

4.  What was your impression of the mid-year meeting in JAX?

The mid-year meeting in Jacksonville was a delightful experience. It was the first time for me to meet with the entire BOD in person (as opposed to conference calls and Google hangouts).   In addition, the BOD had one afternoon meeting with the Steering Committee.  It was so nice to interact face-to-face with everyone, rather than electronically.  We got a lot of business accomplished in two long days of meetings. 

Cheers!
Cheers!

In addition, I was pleasantly surprised how beautiful Jacksonville is – I had no idea!  The St. John’s River runs right through the downtown, with numerous bridges crossing over as well as water taxis.  It’s a great location for the 2014 HAPS conference – hotel nicely situated, lovely for an evening walk, a ride on the river, and some good food (such as the tasty chocolate truffle torte at River City Brewing Company!).