Dr. Ahmed Wafi, Assistant Professor of Physiology and head of the Physiology Department at the medical school of Jazan University, has won the 2022 ADInstruments Macknight Innovative Educator Award. This award recognizes educators who seek to effectively use technology and innovative teaching approaches to deliver engaging physiology courses.
We chatted to Dr. Wafi about what drew him to the field of physiology, his plans to use Lt in his physiology courses, and what advice he has for aspiring educators.
An early interest in biology
Dr. Wafi was fascinated by biology in high school, and went on to study medicine at Jazan University.
It was there that he became interested in the impact of exercise on health: "I got very interested in understanding the mechanisms of numerous health benefits of exercise. So I started working toward a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where I did my internship in cardiac rehabilitation."
During his Master's degree, Dr. Wafi "...realized the remarkable effect of exercise training on improving the quality of life of patients with heart failure."
"The experience I got in my Master's led me to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where I started working toward my PhD. There, most of my research dealt with exercise in animals with heart failure."
The joys of teaching
It's clear that education has many benefits for the teacher, just as it does for the student. Dr. Wafi certainly agrees with this: "The joy of sharing knowledge and inspiring students are certainly motivators."
"The potential for seeing a real positive impact on students is rewarding," Dr. Wafi says. "These moments may come infrequently, but when they do, they give you the desire to keep going."
Active learning is key
Active learning is an important aspect of any course, and providing experiential learning opportunities to his students is the element of teaching that Dr. Wafi likes the best.
"It’s not only engaging, but also encourages students to be critical and analytical thinkers."
His students are actively involved in research, and recently participated in outreach with the local middle school in Jazan, promoting scientific careers.
Dr. Wafi predicts that Lt will help to bridge the gap between theory and practice in his classes.
"Some of the physiological concepts are often conceived as dry and difficult to grasp from lectures," he says.
"Delivering such concepts in an interactive way that enhances students' engagement is challenging, but we believe Lt lessons will help us tremendously in this regard."
Using Lt to teach physiology
The medical school is a strategic growth focus for Jazan University. Dr. Wafi plans to use Lt to teach physiology to second- and third-year medical students, across topics including the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, and exercise physiology, and in both lectures and labs.
Dr. Wafi is positive that Lt will be a good fit for his courses: "One great thing about Lt is that it can be edited, which allows us to customize the lessons and modules to fit our course learning objectives."
"In addition, new lessons will be created to engage students with the use of drag and drop labeling, table completion, and short answers. In the lab, Lt sample data sets will be used for analysis and drawing conclusions by students."
A word of advice for aspiring or new educators
Dr. Wafi recommends that educators stay adaptable and involved in their professional communities. "One thing about teaching physiology and teaching in general is that it’s always dynamic and changing, and if you are able to adapt with that change and do new things, then I think you will be successful."
"One thing that I wish I would have done earlier was getting involved in societies such as the American Physiological Society, so I would recommend getting involved in societies work, whatever the discipline is, as early as possible because it will pay off in the long run."
Congratulations once again to Dr. Wafi! We look forward to hearing about your successes in the Physiology Department, and how Lt is helping you to deliver engaging classes to your students.
The ADInstruments Macknight Innovative Educator Award provides the recipient with a $1,500 honorarium; complimentary advance registration to the APS annual general meeting; and a 1-year subscription to an ADInstruments software of choice (LabChart, Lt LabStation, or Lt).