The Future Anatomy Room at Carrier Library: Enhancing Engaged Learning at JMU

Posted on: June 4, 2024

Person interacting with the hand of an anatomy model of a human skeleton.
An occupational therapy student learns about the human hand with one of the Libraries’ anatomical models.

JMU students will experience ‘hands-on learning’ in the Anatomy Room of a renovated and expanded Carrier Library, where they will use three-dimensional anatomical models to learn about human anatomy. This innovative learning space, complementing the existing anatomy room in Rose Library, will feature an array of interactive, educational models—such as skeletons, hearts, skulls, ears, eyes, and articulated vertebral columns with spinal nerves. Slated to be on the first floor of the future Carrier Library just inside the new entrance facing D-Hall, the Anatomy Room will provide an engaged learning environment for all Dukes.

“Anatomy is a very visual subject, and by nature, it is typically one of the most challenging courses that nearly 500 undergraduate students each semester will encounter at JMU,” said Dr. David McLeod, a previous JMU Assistant Professor of Biology. “Having a space that can accommodate anatomical models, technology, and group learning activities is ideal.”  

The anatomy model program emerged from close collaboration between JMU Libraries, the biology department, and the Learning Centers. Together, they researched and selected the most appropriate anatomical models and other learning tools to ensure effective student engagement.

Carolyn Schubert, Associate Dean for Academic Engagement in JMU Libraries, described the accessibility benefits of locating an anatomy room in the new Carrier Library: “Offering anatomical models in libraries provides more access than offering them in anatomy labs, which may have limited availability due to academic building restrictions.” The anatomy rooms in JMU Libraries are open to all students, unlike those in academic buildings, often restricted to students in specific majors.

Person interacting with an anatomy model of a human brain.
A student explores the anatomy of the human brain with an interactive anatomical model.

“We’ve received quite a bit of positive feedback about the anatomical models since we started offering them in Rose Library in 2015 and Carrier Library in 2017,” said Kelly Miller-Martin, Libraries’ Director of Facilities Operations. “I saw at least one student squeal with excitement when our non-skeleton anatomy models were made available for the first time.” The popularity of the anatomy resources coupled with Carrier’s proximity to the College of Health and Behavioral Studies building suggests that the new lab will be a well-loved destination in the new Carrier. 

Carrier’s anatomy room will be named in honor of generous alums who chose to invest in the library’s future. Becky (’93) and Dave (’93) Thomas are naming the anatomy room in honor of their daughter, Madison (’18), who graduated with honors in Biotechnology. The Thomases wanted to make a gift that would leave a lasting impact on JMU. They reflected, “The opportunity to support the learning of the entire academic community while helping to honor Carrier’s legacy made the decision to support this project easy for our family.”

Person interacting with the shoulder of an anatomy model of a human skeleton while another person watches.
Two students use one of the skeletons currently in the Anatomy Room in Rose Library.

Adapted from Uniquely Lendable Collections (originally published in Virginia Libraries) under its CC BY 4.0 license.

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