Community College Anatomy and Physiology Research Project (CAPER)

Cohort 1 Cohort 2 Cohort 3 Cohort 4

NSF IUSE #2111119

Murray Jensen

Department: Biology Teaching & Learning

CAPER is a multi-layered program focused on evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) and educational research with Community College (CC) Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) instructors. At the foundational level, CC instructors will design classroom research projects to evaluate the impacts of EBIPs on student success and classroom engagement. The CC instructors will also administer questionnaires to their A&P students regarding their attitudes towards EBIPs, their sense of confidence in their academic abilities, and their level of anxiety in the classroom. This data will provide much-needed insight into the efficacy of EBIPs in CC A&P classrooms. Furthermore, the CAPER research team will administer interviews and questionnaires to CC instructors throughout the project to gain insight into changes in instructors’ beliefs and perspectives on teaching. An additional intention of CAPER is to create a long-term community of practice among CC A&P instructors around the US and to study the impacts of communities of practice on the instructors.

This five-year program will include four cohorts of ten to twelve CC A&P instructors. Each cohort will attend a semester-long pedagogy course followed by a semester-long research course. During this year, the A&P instructors develop their individual research plans. The second year is devoted to A&P instructors’ individual data collection, analysis, and dissemination of findings. After submitting their manuscripts to a peer review journal, select members of each cohort are invited to become mentors for the incoming cohort, thus continuing their involvement in the CAPER community of practice. 

Outputs of this project will include not only traditional dissemination activities such as conference presentations and peer-reviewed manuscripts, but also a network of opinion leaders and mentors from CAPER project alumni. This network will be positioned to champion pedagogical transformation within their institutions and professional networks. CAPER will actively connect CC instructors with professional communities of practice to support ongoing professional development.

Instructor Timeline


Research Team Bios

Murray Jensen is a faculty member in the College of Biological Sciences, at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches human physiology. Jensen has taught high school, community college, technical college, and university students, and now oversees 30 high school teachers in a dual enrollment physiology program.   Within the CAPER program Jensen is co-teaching the HAPS I course Teaching Practices for Anatomy and Physiology, and oversees all accounting matters for the project. Jensen’s areas of expertise include cooperative group learning, cooperative quizzes, POGIL, guided inquiry, and classroom management.

Murray Jensen Picture

 Audrey Rose Hyson is a post-doctoral fellow for the CAPER program located at the University of Minnesota. Rose has taught English as a second language content courses to middle school, high school, and university students and has worked as a teacher trainer for English teachers in China. Her recent dissertation work focuses on how young people develop their gender, sexual, and racial identities in educational contexts. Within the CAPER program, Rose is a qualitative researcher. Her areas of expertise include identities and education, professional development and cognitive change, English as a second language, equity, diversity, and inclusion, education research design and qualitative data analysis.

Ron Gerrits is a faculty member at Milwaukee School of Engineering where he teaches mainly graduate courses in physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. Ron’s role in CAPER is to coordinate the Educational Research course, instruct part of the Teaching Practices course, and contribute to overall coordination, planning and the support of instructor projects. His favorite EBIP is guided inquiry, which he uses extensively in his courses.

Megan Deutschman is a PhD candidate in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy & Development at the University of Minnesota. Megan’s research focuses on the whiteness of the teaching force and the ways that white educators uphold, and potentially confront, racism and white supremacy in their classrooms. Prior to her PhD program, Megan was a K-8 classroom teacher both locally and internationally. Within the CAPER program, Megan works as a qualitative researcher.

Melaney Birdsong Farr is a faculty member at Salt Lake Community college where she teaches Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, and runs the college cadaver program. Melaney was a member of the first cohort of CAPER participants, and she now serves as teaching mentor to this cohort of CAPER participants. She has experience with electronic student response systems, case studies, and Think-Pair-Share in the classroom. 

Suzanne Hood is a faculty member in the Psychology department at Bishop's University in Sherbrooke, Canada. Her role in RE-CAPER is to provide research support to instructors as they design and execute their classroom projects. She is also involved in collecting data from Anatomy and Physiology students about their perceptions of EBIP use in the classroom.

Kerry Hull is a faculty member in the Biology department at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Canada, where she teaches Physiology.  She was the previous Editor in Chief of the HAPS Educator, the peer-reviewed journal of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, and thus serves as the writing mentor for RE-CAPER participants. She uses peer instruction, case studies, concept mapping, and guided inquiry in her classroom.

Chasity O’Malley is a faculty member at the Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she teaches physiology to various health professions. She has taught at the community college level, four year private and public universities, and at the graduate level, giving her a wide range of experience. She is a graduate of the original CAPER project. Within the current CAPER project, Chasity oversees the mentors and is heavily involved in recruitment of the participants. She also is co-teaching the HAPS I course Teaching Practices for Anatomy and Physiology and is serving as a mentor for the first cohort. Her favorite EBIPs are case studies and problem based learning. She also has used clicker based modalities a lot throughout her teaching. 

Kathy Bell is a faculty member at Salt Lake Community College where she teaches Physiology and Microbiology. She was a member of the second cohort of CAPER participants and is now helping this new cohort as a teaching mentor. She enjoys using cooperative quizzes, case studies, think-pair-share, and guided inquiry in her classes.

Note: The new NSF grant’s title is Refinement and Expansion of the Community College Anatomy and Physiology Research - or RECAPER (NSF #2111119).  The original grant’s title was Community College Anatomy and Physiology Research Project - or CAPER (NSF #1829157).  We are calling the new grant “CAPER,” or “the new CAPER,” but technically it should be called RE-CAPER. For more information, here is a short article summarizing the work in the first CAPER grant.