HAPS Leadership (#13): Central Regional Director

140115 (1) Murray Jensen“Baltimore…somewhere in the 90s.  That was my first HAPS conference.  Since then, I’ve attended most of the annual conferences, served on a few committees, contributed articles to the HAPS-EDucator, and worked on the effort to archive past issues of the HAPS-ED on the APS Teaching Archive.”

I’m talking with Murray Jensen, Central Regional Director for the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society.  He’s telling me about joining the HAPS Board of Directors.

“With the encouragement of John Waters, I put my name on the ballot for the HAPS Central Regional Director.  It’s been a logical step, as I expand my horizons and learn more about HAPS.  Still, the Talking Head’s lyric – ‘How did I get here?’ – comes to mind.”

140115 (2) Talking HeadsHow did your passion for teaching anatomy and physiology begin?

“I started my professional career as a high school science teacher.  I taught everything from 9th grade special education to anatomy and physiology.  Teaching in the chaos of a high school has put most of my future teaching endeavors into perspective.  Ever try to teach 30 spastic, hyperkinetic, vocal, and emotional 9th graders how to use a volumetric flask on a Friday afternoon during the last period of the day?  You can imagine.

 “I currently teach freshman-level anatomy and physiology at the University of Minnesota, but have kept my contact with high schools through a dual enrollment program at the U.  That has allowed me to keep in touch with high school teachers and educate them about the incredible opportunities through HAPS.”

What sort of opportunities?

“My biggest project for that is a HAPS Central Regional Conference that we’re planning for October, 2014.  We’re looking to have it at a nearby high school (Murray is currently in Minneapolis, Minnesota).  At this conference, I hope to attract both regular HAPS members as well as high school A&P teachers.  We’ll have the usual plenary sessions and workshops, but there will also be ample opportunity for high school and college educators to interact and – as we do so well at all of our conferences – share successes and headaches, brainstorm new ideas, and generally have a good time.  If you know of an educator, high school or college, who might be interested, please send them to the HAPS web page to learn more.” 


And so it begins…

For many of you, July 1st may not have been any big deal.  It may have meant you were one day closer to your 4th of July weekend.  Perhaps it was the start of your schools fiscal year, and that miniscule raise the administration had been promising everyone finally came to fruition.  Maybe you remembered you had a car payment to make.

Perhaps the worst U.S. President ever. but at least he got a stamp.

For me, July 1st meant the official ‘start’ to my term as President of HAPS.  Gulp.  As President-elect, I spent the last year participating in HAPS Board meetings, taking on additional responsibilities, and learning more about the workings of the organization.  This past year was very helpful for me to learn more about what a good president does and how a good president leads (thanks, Dee!).  Now that it is my time to lead this organization that I hold near and dear to my heart, my thoughts are “Gee, I hope I don’t screw anything up!”  Seriously.  I really don’t want to go down as the president who destroyed HAPS.  Will I become the Warren Harding or Calvin Coolidge of our organization?  Have I just aged myself by mentioning Harding and Coolidge?  Where did I put my keys?  Where was I?  Oh yes, the start of my term as HAPS President.

Roller Coaster
let the ride begin!

As president, I have several goals for HAPS – the first of which is to not mess it up. 🙂  I also want to expand an educational research focus in our organization, both in our meetings and in our publications.  I would like to get more of our HAPS members involved in regional and national meetings.  We have over 1700 members, yet only about 400-500 members attend an annual meeting.  This percentage is actually very good, compared to other organizations, but I want to see it get even better.  Many of our members do not have the funds to travel to an annual meeting, which is why HAPS regional meetings are a great way for people to become involved.  In addition, there are many A&P instructors who still have no idea about HAPS and what we can do to help them in their professional development, so we must do more to make these individuals aware of HAPS.  Just as importantly, I want to ensure that the day-to-day operations of HAPS continue to go smoothly, and hopefully I will handle any crises in stride.

Buckle up your safety belts, and let the ride begin!

Ready for… HAPS 2014? Tell us what you want!

The HAPS 2013 annual conference in Las Vegas had record attendance, and preliminary member survey results indicate that most found the event informative and enjoyable. However, less than a month after the 2013 conference’s end, the HAPS leadership is making plans for the 2014 conference in Jacksonville, FL. The 2014 conference committee co-chairs, Steve Wood and Lourdes Norman-McKay, have already been working for a year on conference details. They’ve already been working with our Management Company and our Executive Director with respect to hotel selection, transportation to and from the school site, and overall organization of the conference. Well, less than a month after HAPS 2013 ended, discussion and planning for HAPS 2014 has sped up. This past week I joined the conversation as we all discussed some specifics, such as the number of rooms that needed to be reserved at the school, the specific social events that need to be planned, and finalizing update speakers.

The host college for HAPS 2014!

While many of the details are still being worked out, here are a few items I can share with you:
* the organizers are trying to ensure some free time in the evenings, so people will be able to partake the Jacksonville Jazz Festival that is occurring the same weekend
* The ‘fun run’ activity to support the HAPS Foundation likely will be a scavenger hunt, held on Monday morning before the business meeting
* In 2013, we implemented a HAPS social that was free to everyone (instead of a more formal banquet, that required an additional fee). Since we received a great positive response for the Social format, we will continue to hold a Social in 2014.
* Workshop format will be similar to what we had in 2013, with the opportunity for overbooked workshops to be given as ‘second chance’ seminars

It is exciting to see the development of the conference unfold! So please tell me – what do YOU want to see at HAPS 2014? What did you especially like from past conferences that you want to see continue? Is there anything new you’d like us to try? Comment on this post and let’s get this conversation started!


Back on May 1st I wrote about professional development and today I would like to expand upon that post and talk to you little bit about the HAPS POGIL project. As some of you may recall one of the leaders of POGIL, Richard Moog, was an update speaker at the Las Vegas conference. HAPS member and newly elected Central Regional Director Murray Jensen of the University of Minnesota also presented several workshops and is facilitating a National Science Foundation grant to develop POGIL worksheets for anatomy and physiology. Once complete and approved as official POGIL worksheets they will be released to HAPS members for one year and then be archived in the APS archives.
This week me, Jon Jackson, Murray Jensen, and about 40 of Murray’s College in the Schools high school teachers have been working to develop more POGIL worksheets. We have been particularly focused on producing laboratory exercises.
There are a lot of exciting things that you can do with POGIL, including partially or completely flipping the classroom. Stay tuned for the release of the approved POGIL activities and development of more. Also if you would like to get involved you can contact myself at jlapres@hapsconnect.org or Murray Jensen at mjensen@hapsconnect.org.
As a reminder these worksheets will be free to HAPS members only. This is just another perk of membership in Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. Below is POGIL facilitator Laura Trout with her class. Laura was kind enough to come to the University of Minnesota this week to help us with POGIL.


Professional Development

Professional development is one of those buzzwords in academia that makes some people excited, and it makes others cringe. To me, the main reason for this difference in opinion is based on desire versus must do. Some people, like myself, desire to gain more knowledge and to be on the cutting edge in anatomy and physiology. People like me love professional development in all shapes and sizes. However, I am also a person that cringes at the thought of professional development. This occurs when someone (a supervisor) tells me that I HAVE TO take a certain training that a) I feel I am overqualified for, b) I don’t have time for, c) doesn’t apply to my job, or d) all of the above. This type of professional development seems to me to be a waste of my time.

I will focus here on the good side of professional development. Learning more about something that you are inspired about has never been easier. In this era of technology, it is pretty easy to find reputable sources of online material in anatomy and physiology. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of bad information out there.

There are three ways to obtain professional development online that I would like to discuss: MOOC’s, do it yourself, and actual online coursework.

MOOC is an acronym that has varying meanings depending upon whom you ask. Most say MOOC is massive open online course. The basic idea is that there are a couple platforms out there for MOOCs that offer coursework in literally dozens of areas. The pros of MOOCs is that they are generally offered by reputable universities and in a wide range of topics. The cons are that they are unofficial course (unless something is officially worked out with your employer), the courses do not count as credits, and the timing of the course may not meet your schedule.

You can just research and read for yourself. I’ve listed below 4 of my favorite free online resources.The big pro here is flexibility. The major con, of course, is that it is unofficial.

Respiratory physiology and pathophysiology – http://meded.ucsd.edu/ifp/jwest/index.html

Neuroscience – http://neuroscience.uth.tmc.edu/

Endocrinology – http://www.endotext.org/

and of course, the HAPS website – www.hapsweb.org


Lastly, one can engage in actual online coursework. For many, this is a necessary aspect of being an instructor in higher education. Sometimes an accrediting body may question one’s credentials. Other times, someone might want to add a new field to their credentialing. Most credentialing bodies ask for 18 graduate hours of work in a field in which they teach. For those of us in anatomy and physiology, sometime it gets tricky. A&P is often taught in the biology department, thus HAPS has created the HAPS-Institute, which offers graduate level biology courses. I encourage you to visit the HAPS-I page by clicking HAPS-I to learn more.

Is it over yet?

It is about this time in the spring semester that both students and faculty alike begin to ask themselves, “Is it over yet?” The answer, of course, is no it is not. For most, there are 4-5 more weeks of the spring semester. If you are on trimesters, or a quarter system, I have no idea where you are in your semester, but you are likely in the same boat as everyone else. The weather is getting nicer, grass is starting to green up and pollen is driving you crazy if you are in the south. If you are in the north, you’ve likely gotten a taste of some warm weather, but you wonder if there will be “one more winter storm”.

This is a difficult time in the year for everyone. So make it as pleasant as you can for both yourself, and for your students. Mix it up, do something out of the ordinary. Have you EVER taken a class outside? You should. Have you EVER stood up on the table screaming and shouting (like Tom Cruise on Oprah) about how fascinating the countercurrent mechanism is? You should. Have you EVER had your students present in class? You should.

You should do something different, something amazing, something that lifts everyone’s spirits about anatomy and physiology. And… you should do it TODAY.