WARSAW — A local professor is putting extra time in to help his students do well in a notoriously difficult class.
Dr. Joe Frentzel is a professor of anatomy and physiology at the local Warsaw Ivy Tech campus. Just joining the staff this school year, Frentzel is working hard to make a positive impact on his students.
In 2014, NPR reported that, according to the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, just 50 percent of students nationwide make it through anatomy and physiology. A 2016 report from the Journal of Human Anatomy and Physiology Society found the failure rate at 58 percent.
“I was really disheartened with student outcomes,” said Frentzel regarding the numbers. Wanting to see students do better, he asked students what they needed to succeed. Listening, Frentzel began offering additional review before exams.
“I started offering review in class but that took up quite a bit of time, so I began offering review before or after class,” explained Frentzel.
When students couldn’t attend his review sessions, he offered practice quizzes and found that students who took advantage of the extra practice scored much higher on exams.
“It’s a plus to listen to students,” Frentzel says. With 58 percent of the students nationally receiving a D or lower, Frentzel says a high portion of his students are receiving mid to high C.
An instructor in higher education since 2011, Frentzel says his in-class approach has also changed. Moving away from powerpoint presentations, Frentzel focuses on breaking up his classes and varying his material with introductions into topics and then allowing time for hands on experience and practice opportunities.
Former student Ohm Um, 42, Warsaw, spoke highly of Frentzel. “[Dr. Frentzel] was excellent. One of the best professors,” Um said, adding that the professor is clearly passionate about his job.
Um stated that Frentzel helped facilitate a science club at the Elkhart campus, where Frentzel served as the chairman of the Natural Science department, to help bring together students studying hard sciences. The club now has a few hundred students involved.
“He made it very interesting,” said Um.