Here is some key information you may want to know about how I teach Neuroanatomy.
This senior- and graduate-level course is designed for students who have a specific interest in the biological correlates of psychological phenomena.
It is geared toward individuals who want to learn the cellular and systems neuroscience with an emphasis on behavior and cognition.
We mostly address structure (i.e., what is located where, and why) since function is covered in other courses (i.e., Physio/Bio Psych, Sensation & Perception, Cognitive Neuro, etc.).
95% of students in the class have intentions to continue to medical school, graduate school, PA school, nursing degrees, or some other advanced degree (and sometimes the course is outfitted to accommodate graduate student enrollment simultaneously). Therefore, students who enroll are usually critical thinkers and very self-disciplined. The course is geared toward enhancing these coveted skills while promoting a growth mindset.
It is not an easy course, but if you read my survey results/course evals, you will see that it is one of the most worthwhile courses you can take.
Like my other 300- and 400-level courses, I teach Neuroanatomy in a flipped format. You learn the main content at home and we work through the tough stuff/apply it in class.
Neuroanatomy is known for its wet dissection labs, but they are actually only a small portion of the activities I have you do. During typical semesters, sheep brain and cow eye dissections make up about half of the labs (which are always led by a graduate instructor). The rest of the semester is dedicated to behavioral experiments and learning to use open-source tools.
Read more feedback here.
"After taking both Physiological Psychology and Neuroanatomy with Dr. Jennings, I have come to love the flipped classroom aspect of her teaching. I have had numerous teachers attempt this style in the past and they always failed. Dr. Jennings successfully flips the classroom by having us complete her Canvas pre-lecture assignments prior to class. In class, we go over any questions and further our knowledge of the anatomy with clinical application. Dr. Jennings is also the first neuroscience professor I have had that goes beyond the cellular study of neuroscience. How can we understand the importance of neuroscience without also relating it the behavioral impacts described in psychology? That is why these two schools of science are so intertwined. She does a wonderful job capturing both aspects in this class." -Anonymous Course Evaluation Comment, Spring 2021 "Hi Dr. Jennings, hope everything is going well with you, despite the craziness everywhere! I was a student of yours a couple semester back, and I'm now in medical school at Cooper in NJ. We just started our neuro block, and I've been going through your lectures as a supplementary resource. It jogged my memory about how much I enjoyed your class, especially because of the funny pictures/gifs and "El Quiz" lol. Just wanted to thank you for being an incredible professor in a field I am so interested in!" -Shanika, 2020
"So far, everything in Dental School is literally a watered down version of your class. It allllll comes back! I'm so glad I took your class. I definitely have to go back to my notes to refresh my memory because these classes move VERY quick." -Skyler, 2020
"Dr. Jennings, I just wanted to thank you for teaching my favorite class of undergrad. Your class was inherently interesting, but it was your teaching, funny remarks, and kindness/compassion for your students that made your class a highlight of my undergrad. I wish we could have gotten to know each other more. You acted with more kindness towards your students than I have ever experienced from a professor. My best friend took your class last semester and raved about you. Perhaps you'll catch me in PSY 101 or PSY 325 again just so I have an excuse to take another one of your classes!" -Jill, 2020
"I just wanted to say thank you for creating one of the 3 (maybe 4) greatest classes I've taken at ASU. I think back to your Neuroanatomy on literally a weekly basis, and it is my go-to example of how a difficult class can be made fun and (almost) easy with the right teacher, presentation materials, and thoughtfully crafted exams. Oh, and I thought the extra-credit quizzes at the beginning of class were genius! It pains me that more professors have not implemented a similar strategy. They feel fair and rewarding from the students' perspective, and naturally promote learning by encouraging spaced repetition. And speaking of, the learning strategies you introduced me to in PSY 426 are still with me to this day, and I continue to use them with great success. I often try to teach them to my peers and younger brothers, with varying success, of course. I just really respect you as a teacher, I think about your class all the time, and I'd love it if you could write me a letter for this program. There're very few professors who, in my experience, genuinely treat teaching as an art and science they can constantly improve on. So whenever I took your class it really stuck with me, because you gave me a model of the sort of teacher I hope to be one day." -Will, 2020
"I know you’re busy with finishing grades and whatnot, but I just wanted to say thank you for making a wonderful impact on my senior year, Dr. J. Without you, I surely wouldn’t be where I am today. Throughout my four years of college (between ASU and MCC), I was able to maintain all A’s (few minuses and several pluses) and will graduate with a solid 4.0 cumulative GPA. I can’t wait to walk on Tuesday and say to myself “I did this”. I am also beyond excited to begin my journey into grad school in August. I shadowed an OT on Wednesday and it was absolutely a wonderful experience. Autism in itself is such a unique behavioral disorder, and I really hope to change the lives of many kids down the road - whether it be therapy or research. I wouldn’t have done it with you - your positive mindset and belief in me went a very long way. Thank you for always believing in me. ♥️" -Jordan, Neuroanatomy, 2019
"I hope this email finds you well! While studying for the MCAT I came across so many things we have learned in your class! I texted Will because we both laughed at the kluver Bucy syndrome when we learned it, and the meme also stuck in our heads so when I came across it I was like I know this! And I just came across korsakoff syndrome which we also talked abt and how thiamine deficiency plays a role in it! Thank you for teaching us and sticking through with us even though we looked dead and passed out in class. By far one of my most memorable and favorite classes!" -Leila, Neuroanatomy, 2018
Anonymous Survey Results & Course Evaluations
To read my argument against Ratemyprofessors and some critical considerations about traditional course evaluations, please see my blog post. I post my course evaluations here to model transparency and evidence that RMP is full of biased, inaccurate ratings. Course evaluations are not much better (in fact, they only ask about our flaws), so I also include anonymous survey feedback about content specific to my courses and teaching for a more informative approach.