Mark Frasier, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, has dedicated his career to developing the anatomy curriculum at CSU into a world-class program with unparalleled undergraduate learning opportunities. After 33 years of teaching, he retired from CSU in the fall of 2014.
You’ve built a career out of teaching and service at CSU. Why?
As a grad student here, I fell in love with teaching, and it just happened to be anatomy. I really enjoy seeing the light bulb go on. A lot of students find anatomy challenging because it’s so black and white—there’s no guessing—but it’s also comforting to take a class that is essentially about themselves. They begin to appreciate the complexities of the human body, and many of them get turned on to a career in health and find their path.
How has the program changed under your leadership?
When I started, the program had recently stopped using greyhounds as a human model—that was the standard at the time—but we had just one cadaver for 200 students per year. Can you imagine? Thanks to the generosity of the State Anatomical Board, we have grown the program to 22 cadavers, and we serve about 500 undergrads and 100 grad students per year. That works out to just four students per cadaver in the lab, and that’s a better ratio than in medical school!
Are students typically nervous in anatomy classes?
Many of them are concerned before the class and anxious when they first get into the lab, but after just 15 minutes or so they are engaged, working, and thrilled to be there. They really embrace the idea that an educated person should know about their own body and share in the responsibility for taking care of it.
Why are you retiring and what’s in store for you?
Because I’m starting to get the sons and daughters of my first students! I’m 66 years old and I’m ready to spend time with my wife, Kathy, and our granddaughters. I’ll continue to teach online for CSU, but it’s time for young people to take over this program and grow it in new ways. We have a world-class program in need of new facilities. The Anatomy and Neuroanatomy Learning Center renovation will make a huge difference and I plan on following their success in the development of that plan.