Hailed as an “exceptional mentor,” “highly-accomplished and adaptable educator,” and an “authority on implementing flipped classrooms methodology,” Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Chaya Gopalan, PhD, has been named the American Physiological Society’s 2020 Arthur C. Guyton Educator of the Year.
Gopalan is an associate professor in both the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s Department of Applied Health and the School of Nursing’s Department of Primary Care and Health Systems. She is highly-regarded nationally for her commitment to implementing a range of teaching modalities to connect with diverse learners.
The distinguished Arthur C. Guyton Educator of the Year Award honors her for excellence in classroom teaching at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels, and for her strong commitment to the improvement of physiology.
“I was totally shocked and simply could not believe that I was receiving this prestigious award,” Gopalan said. “I owe my success to the American Physiological Society. I have been a member of the society for over 20 years, and have received constant encouragement, guidance and opportunities to grow and develop.”
Gopalan’s long-time involvement with the APS has included service on the advisory group of physiology educators, Fellowship Committee, Institution of Teaching and Learning and Steering Committees, as well as a Nomination Committee Chair, Symposium Chair and more.
“I have witnessed firsthand her tremendous passion and energy for physiology education,” noted APS colleague Jonathan Kibble, PhD, professor of physiology and assistant dean for students at the University of Central Florida’s Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona College of Medicine, in his letter of recommendation. “She has become an authority on implementing flipped classroom methodology, and has published several manuscripts on the topic, as well as given several invited workshops and podium presentations.”
“An important, and sometimes overlooked, characteristic of impactful educators is the time they devote to mentorship of others,” he added. “Chaya is an exceptional mentor, which I have witnessed directly in the way she interacts with colleagues and junior members of the physiology education community.”
In her recommendation letter, former student Rim Hadgu, PharmD, described Gopalan as the “epitome of excellence.” She credited Gopalan for inspiring her to become a confident leader and persistently pursue her goals.
“Not only is Dr. Gopalan passionate about teaching, but she also cares deeply about her students beyond the classroom,” wrote Hadgu, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Midwestern University College of Pharmacy-Glendale. “She wants her students to understand her course material, and she also notices when they are struggling. She gives invaluable advice and encourages her students to find how they learn best. She has taught me to be persistent, and to pursue my goals regardless of the outcome.”
Gopalan is principal investigator of a National Science Foundation-funded project to advanced flipped teaching in STEM education, and the APS 2018 Teaching Career Enhancement Award winner. In 2019, she was recognized with a Phenomenal Woman Award from the SIUE Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.
Gopalan earned her doctorate in neuroendocrine physiology from the University of Glasgow. At SIUE, she currently teaches Advanced Human Physiology and Advanced Human Pathophysiology courses in the SON’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and Family Nurse Practitioner doctoral programs. She also teaches the Biology of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases course to exercise science majors in the SEHHB.