Fall 2017

Advocating for Educators

Meet Nicholas Frank, the new associate dean for academic affairs at Cummings School.

By Greta Scheibel

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"As educators, we need to practice evidence-based pedagogy.” Photo: Peter Gumaskas

Name: Nicholas Frank

What he does: Associate dean for academic affairs at Cummings School

His winding path: “As a vet student, I was interested in knowing what I needed to know in order to become a practitioner. Since then, I’ve experienced advanced training in internal medicine, getting a Ph.D., building a research program, and the joy of many academic pursuits. It is a true illustration of how a veterinary career can unfold over time—you don’t know at each step which way it’s going to go.”

The biggest challenge for students: “Their challenge is to go through the curriculum, get the information they need, acquire the necessary skills, and do it all in a way that’s balanced and enjoyable. One area that perhaps overlaps with my interests in teaching and curriculum development is the impact of our teaching on mental health.”

The biggest challenges for faculty: Exploring and expanding what they want to do in their teaching and scholarly work while the demands on their time grow every year.

His vision for scholarship in teaching at Cummings School: A two-year teacher-training program, with participation rewarded in the promotions process. “In my previous position here, I tried to encourage individuals to explore new teaching methods and to conduct studies that will give us evidence-based approaches to making decisions about teaching. As clinicians, we absolutely practice evidence-based medicine. As educators, we need to practice evidence-based pedagogy.”

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