Sarah Leupen receives Fulbright award to teach evidence-based science pedagogy at Czech medical school

Sarah Leupen, senior lecturer in biological sciences, has received a Fulbright award as part of the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. She will teach and facilitate faculty development at Charles University Medical School in the Czech Republic for the 2016-17 academic year. While in the Czech Republic, she will teach courses in physiology, nutrition, and reproduction at the Charles University Medical School, and will train faculty in the use of evidence-based teaching practices in medical school science courses on topics including nutrition, reproduction, and neurobiology.

Leupen will focus on transitioning medical school courses from traditional lecture-focused methods to more learner-centered, evidence-based pedagogical approaches. She explains that faculty can be hesitant to integrate teaching methods beyond the lecture formats they were exposed to as students, often due to lack of experience with alternative approaches or knowledge of current research on how people learn best.

Leupen will lead monthly discussions for faculty at the medical school based on articles about university science pedagogy. “Exposing faculty to that evidence is often the key component to increasing their willingness to try new approaches to teaching,” she explains.

This Fulbright opportunity will also enable Leupen to learn more about the history and tradition of teaching methods used in the Czech Republic, and how they relate to teaching approaches from elsewhere in the world. She looks forward to connecting with “faculty whose style, approach, goals, level, or topic is different” from her own.

Image: Sarah Leupen. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.