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Teaching Philosophy and Innovations

The ICRE provides a learning experience that will have practical relevance to the professional lives of our students, whether they are a medical or graduate student, a postdoc, or an assistant professor. Many of our classes require students to engage in real-world scenarios and research problems. Others allow students to design their own project in which to apply the skills of the course.

For example, in the 5 credit CLRES 2071/2072 Research Design and Development class, students write a full grant proposal, regularly receiving in-depth critiques and feedback. In CLRES 2800 Fundamentals of Clinical Trials, students prepare a protocol for a clinical trial, and in CLRES 3140, students work in interdisciplinary teams to identify and justify a team-based intervention to a public health issue.

Keeping our students engaged and learning in the classroom is of the highest importance in the ICRE. Many of our students have considerable clinical demands, and each student is pressed for time. To maximize the learning opportunities in class, the ICRE uses a range of techniques and technologies that help students take charge of their learning, with faculty there to guide and advise as necessary.

"I truly attribute a lot of the success of my projects in residency to the skills I picked up during my ICRE courses."

—IST for Residents Trainee


To catalyze the development of innovative, technology-enhanced courses and programs, the ICRE founded the Innovative Design for Education and Assessment (IDEA) Lab. The IDEA Lab provides instructors with research-based pedagogical consulting, instructional design support, and video production resources.

Flipped Classroom

In a flipped class, students become familiar with content—through video lectures or readings—by themselves prior to class (usually as homework). Class time is then spent applying the new knowledge, often to real-world problems. Students work individually or in groups to develop mastery with the relevant skills and use of knowledge. The instructor’s role becomes that of guiding students when they are stuck, rather than simply imparting knowledge.

Student Response System

Also known as “clickers,” student response systems allow instructors to pose students questions during class. The answers can be used anonymously to assess a class’ understanding of the concepts being covered, or in an identified way for grading purposes.

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

POGIL is a form of small group learning, where students have assigned roles in which to complete assigned tasks. The tasks are designed to introduce and familiarize students with complex concepts, thus helping students construct their own understanding of the matter. Students simultaneously have the opportunity to enhance their teamwork, analytical, and communication skills.


Lab work is an essential component to a number of ICRE classes. A fully equipped computer room allows students to learn and use statistical software under the guidance of faculty experts. Regular practice in multiple classes ensures that students acquire technology skills essential for a clinical research