Research Projects with Dr. Suzanne Hood: Changing the teaching methods in U.S. community colleges and publishing a review about sleep disturbance

Research Projects with Dr. Suzanne Hood: Changing the teaching methods in U.S. community colleges and publishing a review about sleep disturbance

“Making a difference by changing the way we are teaching the next generation”

Dr. Suzanne HoodDr. Suzanne Hood is currently on the second year of a five years’ project which includes various collaborators including Dr. Kerry Hull about changing the education system in community colleges in the US. The research focuses on one particular class: Anatomy and Physiology, a pre-requisite course for students wishing to purse nursing or other allied health professions. Available data suggests that failure among students currently rests at 50%, leading researchers to reflect on the cause(s) of such an alarming rate. An example of a group less likely to succeed would be first generation students as they will tend to identify as more anxious and be more doubtful of their likelihood to succeed. With her strong background in psychology, Dr. Hood brings in a significant expertise to analyze what practices are better, what group of individuals are doing better and getting feedback from the professors to make distinctions between different learning types and memories in humans. The research will hopefully identify and help students better understand the subject and content of the course all while more appropriately storing the information delivered to them. As part of this research, Dr. Hood and her team collect data from the community college instructors as well as the students on the impact(s) of using evidence-based teaching activities. The goal is to better equip, through coaching, instructors on how to use evidence-based teaching methods such as peer-to-peer teaching in their Anatomy and Physiology classes; decreasing their reliance on traditional approaches such as simple lecturing. The study is not only going to help the educators and helping Suzanne realize her own teaching methods and how she can improve so student can succeed in her class.

In addition to this significant collaboration to evidence-based teaching methods, Dr. Hood currently oversees a group of undergraduate students making a detailed review of the literature available on sleep disturbance in individuals of 65 years old and above. Research has shown that more than 30-50% of people within this age range have troubles sleeping, while providing very little explanation. Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and sleep disturbance has been known to cause cognitive challenges as well as affecting our physical health. This comes to no surprise considering how mind and body are interconnected. Students that are part of her research group are currently exploring what available research evidence exist regarding the various treatments available including prescribed drug therapy, alternative medicine (acupuncture, cannabis, etc.), cognitive therapy, and more, with a focus on what has been published and what may be missing in the literature. Dr. Hood’s assessment of the students’ exercise will allow her to guide sleep researchers in new studies that may help fill in holes in our current knowledge of the overall matter: sleep disturbance among the elderly. The biggest question is what is currently working and helping the older generation. The review will help to show how much scientific evidence exists for various treatments, and sleep researchers could use this information to guide new studies that would fill in gaps in current knowledge.

“The undergraduate students at Bishops are doing amazing work and at the same time, they’re acquiring experience”

Joannie St-Germain M.Sc.
Research Officer
Office of Research and Graduate Studies