Cecilia Graham, Ph.D., and Diane Clark, DScPT, have been eager to change the way their Pathology and Pharmacology for Movement Disorders courses are taught.

The UAB Scholarship of Teaching Grant program is giving them the resources to restructure the classes, which are foundational courses in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Graham and Clark are incorporating active learning and critical thinking activities into the curriculum by adding an online component and interaction with patients.

“The course pretty much has been lecture-based with PowerPoint presentations,” Graham says. “The students need to be challenged more. Now they will have an online component to engage in prior to class. During class they will interact with patients and analyze case studies. The students will be able to discuss concepts with each other and faculty and apply what they are actively learning.”

Graham and Clark submitted a proposal to the UAB Scholarship of Teaching Grant Program, and it was selected along with seven other programs to receive grants for their classroom instruction.

The purpose of the grant program is to provide resources for faculty who are advancing the scholarship of teaching. It focuses on the development of critically reflective knowledge about teaching and learning, requiring faculty to frame and systematically investigate questions related to student learning, teaching methods and educational theory.

Graham says students will be tested to measure their class engagement and improvement in critical thinking skills.

“We hope to get the students past superficial learning and memorization and engage them in deep learning,” she says. “This will enable them to get a deeper understanding of the concepts of the courses.”

Graham says she and Clark are excited about the potential for the class and the impact and value it will have for the students. “This change wouldn’t be possible without the grant,” Graham says. “We certainly are appreciative.”

Others receiving grants include Joan Grant, D.S.N., in the Nursing Adult/Acute Health; Lisa Baker, Ph.D. in Anthropology and Social Work; Thomas Nordlund, Ph.D., in Physics; Ellen Buckner, D.S.N., in Family/Child Health and Caregiving; Diane Tucker, Ph.D., in the Science and Technology Honors Program; Stacey Cofield, Ph.D., in Biostatistics; and Laura Talbott-Forbes, Ph.D. in Human Studies.