The human brain is an incredibly complex 3D structure that is difficult to comprehend using only 2D images. However, visualizing the 3D structures of brain components and their spatial relationships is critical for understanding brain function and diagnosing neurological disorders. Students in Erika Fanselow’s neuroanatomy course tackle this by designing 3D models of multiple related brain structures based on measurements made from 2D images such as brain scans. In conjunction with Pitt’s Open Lab, students use web-based modeling software to develop and print their models. This project facilitates students’ conceptualization of brain structures and allows them to teach their peers.
We would like to congratulate Sue Richardson, John Shaw and Dr. Carol Washburn for earning a 2017 Advancing Educational Excellence Award! The Teaching Center’s staff recognition program acknowledges the contributions of team members who exemplify our core values, demonstrate a positive attitude and show a willingness to exercise servant leadership with initiative.
Sue Richardson joined Pitt in 2010 and became supervisor of the University of Pittsburgh Testing Center two years later. Her commitment to service is always on display, as she’s often the first person you see when entering the Testing Center. Sue oversees a team of testing assistants that administer more than 4,000 examinations every term. “Sue always has a smile, a warm greeting and a sense of humor — even during finals week,” said a colleague in the Teaching Center. The Educational Excellence Award acknowledges Sue’s outstanding service, as she takes a proactive, organized approach to proctored testing at the University of Pittsburgh.
John Shaw’s commitment to collaboration is carried out through his efforts to help faculty build new and engaging Pitt Online courses. The instructional technologist is responsible for preparing dozens of online courses each term, which gives him an opportunity to work with many faculty from different schools. “Without question, his collaborative efforts, technical skills and dedication to the task at hand helped me deliver a sharp-looking, well-designed course,” said a faculty member at the School of Education. John’s membership on a project team always increases the likelihood of a successful outcome, so the Educational Excellence Award recognizes his collaboration skills.
As manager of Teaching Support, Dr. Carol Washburn frequently consults with departments on instructional design methodologies and on program assessment. Her passion for innovative, evidence-based course development earned her the Educational Excellence Award for Collaboration, as she was instrumental in connecting faculty to the Teaching Center’s Open Lab. These connections resulted in expanded use of 3D printing for faculty at the Schools of Rehabilitation Sciences and Dental Medicine. A colleague noted that Carol’s efforts break down “the traditional boundaries between two modes of teaching support: the one focused on technical expertise and the one focused on pedagogical theory and practice.”
Congratulations to Sue, John and Carol for receiving a 2017 Advancing Educational Excellence Awards!