Dr. Sarah McLean


Dr. Sarah McLean
BSc (Honors), University of Waterloo, 2007
PhD, Physiology (Developmental Biology), Western University, 2012
Master of Educational Technology candidate, University of British Columbia




Teaching Philosophy

When students are able to share their experiences, they grow. As such, I feel it is crucial to provide authentic learning environments to students. In my courses, I have embedded authentic tasks, assignments, and evaluations. In Medical Sciences 4300, students work in a team with a community partner to develop resources to aid in scientific and health literacy. In Medical Sciences 3900, students perform online laboratory decision trees (LaboraTREEs), to help them understand the theory of an experiment. In the wet lab, they are able to spend time executing the experiment, as they know the purpose behind the steps of the protocol. By empowering our students with authentic and collaborative learning, we can best prepare them for their futures.

Student interaction is so critical to my teaching, that all of the courses that I have designed (Medical Sciences 4200, 3900, and 4300), have a blended and flipped model to facilitate synergy. Students in these courses complete interactive online learning modules before class; class time is then used for discussion, application, and problem-solving. This model allows students to be active contributors in class, rather than simply consumers. Both my students and I benefit from this approach, as I am continually inspired by my students.


2018: Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching
Faculty Community Engaged Learning Award
2017: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Award for Excellence in Teaching
2017: Univeristy Students' Council- Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
2016: Faculty Development Mini Fellowship Fund
2015-2016: University Students' Council Teaching Honour Roll

Research Funding:

2014-2017: Teaching Support Centre - Teaching Fellowship ($60,000)
2013: Instructional Innovation and Development Fund (IIDP) with Dr. Candace Gibson - ($7700)


  1. Sarah McLean, Michelle Belton, Kate Dillon, Nicole Campbell. The design and implementation of a blended learning course. Journal of Science Education and Technology. In Revision. Manuscript #: JOST-D-17-00214
  2. Sarah McLean. Bridging the Gap between Pre-Work and In-Class Sessions in the Flipped Classroom. Faculty Focus. Published online January 23, 2017.
  3. Sarah McLean. Medical Myth busting to Engage Physiology Students in Scientific Literature. Accepted- In Press. Advances in Physiology Education October 1, 2015. Manuscript #: ADV-00150-2015.
  4. Sarah McLean, Stefanie M. Attardi, Lisa Faden, Mark Goldszmidt. Flipped classrooms and student learning: not just surface gains. Adv Physiol Educ (2016) 40 (1), 47.


  1. World Conference on Online Learning, Toronto, Canada. Refereed Oral presentation, October 17, 2017. “Choose Your Own Adventure: Design and Evaluation of Online Decision Trees for Procedural Learning”.
  2. Opportunities and New Directions Conference, University of Waterloo. Refereed Oral presentation. April 27, 2017. “Promoting Curiosity in Students using a Design Theory Approach”.
  3. Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference, Western University. Oral Presentation. June 21, 2016. “Flipping out over the WALS”.
  4. Fall Perspectives on Teaching Conference, Western University. September 2, 2015. Invited Panelist. “Educational Leadership: Extending Your Teaching Beyond Your Classroom”.
  5. 2015 Research on Teaching and Learning Conference, McMaster University. Refereed Oral presentation. December 10, 2015. “Improving learning in a LaboraTREE: Using technology to create a positive feedback approach to procedural learning.
  6. The Western Conference on Science Education, Western University. July 9, 2015. Refereed oral presentation. “Reimagining the Laboratory Experience: From Model to Simulation.”
  7. The Western Conference on Science Education, Western University. July 9, 2015. Refereed oral presentation. “Choose Your Own Adventure: A Safe Place for Students to Make Mistakes”
  8. American Association of Anatomists, Regional Meeting, Western University, May 30th, 2015. Workshop. A Walk on the Flip Side: Evolution of the Lecture.
  9. Opportunities and New Directions conference, University of Waterloo, April 30th 2015. Refereed oral presentation. “Student reflection: Lessons from community engaged learning and its application in the face-to-face classroom”.
  10. Graduate TA workshop- Teaching Online: Strategies for Facilitating Effective and Engaging E-learning” April 20, 2015. Invited speaker. “Why not make it interactive? Using Adobe Captivate to make online modules for a 4th year Medical Sciences Course.”
  11. Faculty of Engineering mini-Workshop on e-Learning Best Practices, Western University May 23rd, 2014. Invited speaker. “Tools and How-To’s for e-Learning and the Flipped Classroom”.
  12. Flipped Classroom Lunch and Learn”, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University May 6th, 2014. Speaker.
  13. Opportunities and New Directions conference, University of Waterloo, May 1st 2014. Refereed oral presentation. “Assessment in Blended Classrooms”.