Student Spotlight

Bobby Nieland

Class of 2018

  • Hometown: Greensboro, NC
  • Undergraduate Studies: Biology and Chemistry; Graduate Studies in Public Health
  • Clubs and Activities: ACOFP, Global Medicine Track Program, Colorado Medical Society, Integrative Medicine Club, Medical Ethics Club, RVU Medical Spanish classes, Anatomy and OPP Tutor, Anatomy Lab Assistant

Why did you choose RVU? I chose RVUCOM because I wanted to be in a place where I could truly see myself being happy during...
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Faculty Spotlight

Heather Ferrill, DO, MS

Chair and Associate Professor of OPP

  • Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Undergraduate Studies: BA in Advertising (Michigan State University, 1989)
  • Graduate Studies: DO degree from MSUCOM (2000); FP/NMM residency at University of New England COM (2004); MS in Medical Education and Leadership at UNECOM (2010)

What class do you teach? OPP Why did you choose to teach at RVUCOM? RVUCOM is an amazing collaborative community...
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Faculty Development

The Faculty Development Committee (FDC) supports and enhances the professional development of faculty members and promotes a climate for innovation in healthcare education by encouraging faculty to learn from information development and knowledge creation in their particular specialty and education as a whole.  The committee provides opportunities for faculty to participate in active discussions on topics related to the scholarship of teaching and learning, and to engage with leading educators and researchers in various fields.  As well, the Committee assumes responsibility for the administrative needs of the Teaching Academy.

For more information, contact Jennifer Montemayor, PhD, Director of Faculty Development, at (720) 874-2433 or

Teaching Academy

“We teach, but we were never taught how to teach.” This is the sentiment behind the RVU Teaching Academy, the education-focused subcommittee headed up by Amber Heck, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology. While our faculty holds distinguished degrees in a wide array of fields, no one went to school specifically to learn how to teach future physicians. With this in mind, Dr. Heck came up with the idea of a program that would “enrich [the faculty’s] skills, deepen their understanding of how students learn, and gather strategies for teaching.”

A subcommittee of the Faculty Development Committee, the Teaching Academy is designed to motivate teachers and provide a forum for those who are interested in the pursuit of teaching excellence and the scholarship of learning. “Not everyone has the time or interest,” said Jennifer Montemayor, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology and Anatomy, “but for people who do, they have this outlet.”

Here’s how the program works: faculty members earn credit hours each time they participate in a Teaching Academy- (or Faculty Development Committee-) approved event. These events can include faculty development seminars (such as “Exploring the Inner Life of a Teacher” or “Research Methods and Data Management”), presentations, and conferences on the topic of education.

Every spring, faculty members who earned over 20 credit hours are accepted into the Teaching Academy (and awarded with a pin and certificate). For an extra challenge, they have the opportunity to earn the Distinguished Member award—awarded only to those who earned over 40 credit hours in a school year. This year, eleven faculty members were inducted into the Teaching Academy.