Competitive advantage | University of Wittenberg
Developing new programs is nothing new to John Thistlethwaite, associate professor of health and sport studies at Wittenberg. Upon arriving at the University in 2019 to help develop the exercise science program, Thistlethwaite was asked about the potential for implementing a gross anatomy lab, which he had accomplished in d other universities. Fast forward and after extensive renovations at the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center in Wittenberg, the goal is complete, with the university now one of the few liberal arts institutions to offer a gross anatomy lab for its students.
“It’s definitely unique for an institution of our size,” Thistlethwaite said. “Even more unique is the ability for undergraduate students to do their own dissection on a human cadaver. I had the privilege of teaching and directing a course in global human anatomy at my former institution, including the design of two different cadaver labs. »
The new lab was designed by Thistlethwaite and then built by Wittenberg’s facilities management and IT teams in about five months. The lab is located in rooms 107 and 109 of the Kuss Science Center, a lab and classroom previously occupied by the Geology Department.
“Our facilities and IT teams have done an amazing job with the renovations. The cadaver lab and adjoining classroom in Wittenberg is one of the most beautiful cadaver labs I have used or observed,” Thistlethwaite said. “In terms of technology and offerings, I don’t think there’s a better space around.
“The lab will greatly benefit any student who is planning to continue in a professional program such as medical school, physician assistant program, physical therapy program, etc., as these programs usually have a course in human anatomy overall,” he added. “Any student who wishes to pursue a professional program or a graduate program would benefit from this course. It is also a requirement for the new Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and an option for those majoring in Biology.
The renovations first consisted of removing asbestos above the ceiling tiles and a complete renovation of both spaces which included new HVAC systems, floors, light fixtures, ceiling tiles, paint, light fixtures, recessed lights, counters with two sinks and desks with electricity. There is also a camera and monitors in the lab connected to the classroom so that any anatomical structure seen on any of the corpses can be viewed on the monitors and in the classroom.
Students enrolled in HSS 350, Gross Human Anatomy, will be the primary users of the space. Students will do a complete dissection of the cadavers. Other classes and majors, including nursing, may also get the chance to use the lab in the near future.
“In many cadaver labs, graduate students or professors do the dissections, and undergraduates have the wanted cadavers to view,” Thistlethwaite said. “In our lab, undergraduates will do all the dissection, which is really a unique experience. We have six complete anatomical skeletal models as well as disarticulated skeletons. We also have several anatomical models of different organs, including eyes and ears. The lab and classroom technology is truly amazing. We’ll have four corpses, and they’ll be here by the end of July. We will use the corpses for one or two years. We will also have several high school AP classes observing the cadaver lab.
The goal of the lab is to provide students with a unique experience of dissecting a human cadaver and to use this knowledge in a future profession or professional/graduate program. Students will also be able to do advanced dissection on cadavers on areas of their choice. For example, if a student is interested in neurology, they might do an advanced dissection of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.