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Faculty: Science and Technology
School: Life and Environmental Sciences
Disciplines: Physiology, Biology and Animal Biology
Phone: +61 3 925 17054
Dr Jan West is a lecturer in Physiology and a course coordinator in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. She is an enthusiastic educator who believes education is a two way interaction between teacher and student, in which students must question and challenge so that knowledge comes with genuine understanding.
Jan's quest is to enthuse and inspire her students and encourage them to question. She achieves this through a range of innovative lecturing techniques. Jan introduced simulated practical classes into the curriculum for Physiology at second year level. She also uses 'live' applications to engage students. Jan's dog, Lexie, is a popular guest at Physiology classes. The Cardigan corgi is a relatively rare breed resulting from an international exchange of genes. With Lexie as a live example of test tube reproduction, students revise their knowledge of the human reproduction and development processes, comparing human and canine reproductive systems.
Jan is also facilitating a positive learning experience for research students. One undergraduate research student won a prize in 2007 for the best student poster presentation at the Australian and NZ Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry conference. This led to a scholarship with the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the opportunity to write up his work for publication. He will commence Honours under Jan's supervision in 2009.
Jan was the principal investigator in a research project to evaluate the usefulness of computer-simulated practicals in teaching Physiology to undergraduate students, which built on work she initiated while completing the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education. Jan prepared a paper on this research, with Dr Anneke Veenstra, which is currently under consideration for publication by a leading journal on physiology education. Jan is interested in supervising research projects in the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education.
In 2006, Jan was nominated by Deakin's Vice-Chancellor to assist with the organisation of a Carrick Institute project on assessment in the biological sciences, run by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.
Jan is actively involved in teaching and related Communities of Practice. In 2004-2005 she took part in a Korean Teachers' Program, giving a presentation and hosting visitors at a practical Physiology class. She has also run workshops for career teachers and Year 10 students, and is a course adviser for students completing the Bachelor of Biological Science and the Bachelor of Biomedical Science on the Melbourne Campus at Burwood. Jan is campus co-ordinator for the Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree.
Jan was recently invited to submit an article for the text Nature of Biology by Professors Marjory Martin and Judith Kinnear, which is widely used in Victoria as a prescribed text in Year 11 and Year 12 Biology.
Jan is also involved in strategic course development. She worked collaboratively with the former Faculty of Education to develop a unit (Human Biology and Genetics) for students based in Malaysia, which was successfully implemented in 2007.