Janine M. Ziermann

Assistant Professor, Howard University College of Medicine

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I’ve come to appreciate – The big window at my desk in the corner of my living room in the 700 square foot apartment I share with my partner. Instead of biking to work, I increased running to four times a week. I’m thankful for my new running shoes! I took the landscape photo above while out for a run.

My challenges & solutions – Many of my students are worried about finishing on time. Some are stressed by being away from family, others are stressed by being with family. Faculty are exhausted. Administration could be more flexible or give longer extensions. My main challenge was to deal with my own anxiety, new work environment, and trying to manage expectations from school while taking care of my students. Most students visibly relax when showing them that there is a plan to get them where they need to be.

How I stay connected with students – I use Zoom, SMS, WhatsApp, old-fashioned calling, email. Clear communication helps us to stay engaged, identifying problems with immediate follow-up about possible solutions or plan B or plan C. Basically, everyone needs to know what is going on, which provides some clarity and peace of mind.

How I keep students engaged – I split tasks into 15-minute to-do steps that are easier to handle than standard 45-minute tasks. The students are amazing in helping to decide which programs would be good! I moved part of the writing to Google shared documents to have more timely feedback for students, which I may keep in the future. And I have given small groups of students different programs to play with and provide feedback regarding usefulness in anatomical education.

I’ve discovered – I’m currently too busy to start something new. I basically try to get my work done.

My guilty pleasure – Ice cream!

I really miss – Daily contact with my students and morning chats with our body donation program curator.

I’ve forgiven myself for – I’m still working on that one.

My lifesaver – National Science Foundation (NSF) has been great in communicating regarding grants, applications, current funding, etc., as well as providing some nice links to mindfulness.