Professor John Reynolds of Anatomy has been appointed to a newly created role at the University of Otago aimed at overseeing the hugely popular Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) programme.
The programme attracts between 1300 and 1400 students annually, either working towards a place in Otago's Medical, Dental, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy and Medical Laboratory Sciences programmes or beginning a degree in biomedical or biological sciences.
As Health Sciences First Year Programme Director, Professor Reynolds will provide leadership and assume overall responsibility for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of the programme.
“I have previous experience as a Convener of one of the HUBS (Human Body Systems) papers in the HSFY programme and hold a great deal of passion for the value of the programme and for learning experiences of students at first year,” Professor Reynolds says. “So, once the Director role was advertised I felt a compelling need to apply, and give my best to improve the programme.”
"I ... hold a great deal of passion for the value of the programme and for learning experiences of students at first year."
He sees the role as an excellent opportunity to ensure the programme is responsive to both the needs of the students and the requirements of the courses that receive them. He is also excited about ensuring it keeps abreast of future changes.
Professor Reynolds leads a busy and successful laboratory which focuses on understanding the effect of natural patterns of brain cell activity on the normal and disordered brain. He is also an award-winning teacher, having received an Ako Aotearoa tertiary teaching award in 2008.
He says balancing the new HSFY role with his own research and teaching will be challenging but that he is committed to making both work well.
“Importantly, I am supported in the new role by excellent General staff in the Health Sciences Division and in the research world by a superb lab of staff and students, and an understanding host Department (Anatomy). Collectively, these people have already made both work sites a manageable pleasure so far.”