Since July 2016, Rebecca has been an Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. She completed her PhD, Health Biosciences, at Brock University from 2009-2013
Her lecture-based courses include two large mandatory classes: Human Anatomy (2F95/2P95) with an enrolment of 306 students and Human Pathology (4P95) with an enrolment of 119 students.
In 2018, Rebecca also taught Pathophysiology of Metabolic Syndrome (HLSC 4P96), Department of Health Sciences, Brock University (18 students) Instructor, Human Anatomy (HLSC 2P95), Department of Health Sciences, Brock University (306 students)
She summarizes her teaching philosophy as: Human Health: a full body of knowledge
“My goal as an educator is to teach from the heart and not the textbook. To do this I facilitate learning by cultivating individual interests in the course content, while at the same time encouraging critical thinking. I utilize a hands-on approach to learning where I encourage students to interact with the material and with one another. I want students to leave any lecture, lab, or seminar with a true knowledge and appreciation of the logical, elegant, simplicity of the human body.”
She lives her philosophy to the fullest. In her first year of teaching at Brock, Rebecca established a partnership between Brock and McMaster Medical School to provide students in the Human Anatomy and Human Pathology course the opportunity for hands-on experiential interaction with real human specimens in the McMaster Medical School cadaver lab. Her efforts will have a long-lasting impact on active student learning.
Rebecca has extended the learning experience by setting up an anatomy volunteer program where students who have completed Human Anatomy have the opportunity to come back to the lab as volunteers to assist in the learning experience of the more junior students. She also founded a student-run Anatomy Club. This is the second year of the club’s existence and the membership continues to grow (~40 students).
In his letter of support, Brent Faught, Professor of Epidemiology ad MPH Graduate Program Director Department of Health Sciences, writes:
“I have been at Brock University for two decades and I have never observed such a high quantity and quality of instruction from a young faculty member. Finally, Rebecca invests in refining her teaching techniques and strives to improve the learning experience of her students. Each year, she has improved her teaching methods by enrolling in teaching courses on human anatomy as well as fundraising for a unique (only one exists in Canada) anatomy teaching apparatus called the Anatomage Table. She does not sit on her laurels and is determined to improve her pedagogical approach to teaching and learning. Her hands-on approach to teaching is truly experiential. Rebecca is, without a doubt, a quality teacher and a valuable asset to Brock University who will be celebrated for her teaching prowess for years to come.”
She receives outstanding student evaluations – students have remarked:
- She is very approachable and easy-going, and creates a very comfortable environment for her students
- Rebecca always ensures that she teaches her material in a manner that makes the content very easy for the student to comprehend.
- For the past two years these cadaver labs have continued to be successful and the hands on experience the students are able to gain from them is paramount.
- She has become a role model not only to me, but to many other students working in her research lab.
- Dr. MacPherson’s teaching style is open and practical, creating a classroom environment that truly fosters discussion, questions, and ideas.
Her students are clearly enamoured. They write:
“Her focus is very much on engaging the students, which can be especially hard with over 200 students and a large auditorium. Not everyone learns the same way and Dr. MacPherson truly appreciates that, incorporating real stories and experiences, current research and always relating topics back to the big picture. She is excellent at integrating a light-hearted teaching style with direct, consistent, and purposeful exposure to the required material.”
“Her passion for facilitating her students’ learning is especially evident in her successful endeavor to create the lab component for the Human Pathology course. These weekly labs not only expanded my understanding and interest, but in contrast to colour-coded models and figures, I was able to see things as a system where disconnect and alterations lead to disease. Dr. MacPherson enabled me to see the basic principle of pathology. Being given the opportunity to observe the pathologies that we had learned about just earlier in that week provided me with a deeper understanding and a clearer picture, as well as the rare experience of applying my knowledge on more than just paper.”