Robert G. Carroll, PhD, Associate Dean for Medical Student Education, Professor of Physiology, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
Robert G. Carroll, PhD, has brought a unique blend of pedagogy and research to his more than three decades at the Brody School of Medicine (SOM), where he has spearheaded major curricular enhancements, studied the effectiveness of those changes, and shared lessons learned with colleagues around the world.
As a professor of physiology and associate dean for medical student education, Dr. Carroll led a preclinical curriculum revision in 2012. The reforms promoted more active and self-directed learning, including the introduction of a problem-based learning course, and collectively resulted in a significant increase in student performance on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1. Dr. Carroll also guided curricular enhancements in 2016 that accelerated the preclinical phase of training, altered testing structure, and enhanced integration around organ systems.
Underlying this work is Dr. Carroll’s fundamental belief that education is a social contract between teacher and learner. “Courses flourish when the student-teacher relationship is reciprocal and includes ‘joint ownership’ of the course,” he wrote in a 2012 Advances in Physiology Education editorial.
Dr. Carroll’s commitment to medical education extends beyond his school’s campus. He is one of the founders of the International Association of Medical Science Educators and a contributor to the creation of the AAMC’s Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency.
Dr. Carroll has traveled to more than 20 countries in his efforts to improve medical education standards worldwide, presenting workshops on teaching, learning, and assessment in such far-flung places as Sri Lanka, Grenada, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Rwanda. “His journey from the classroom to the global community reflects his dedication to enhancing medical education,” notes Mark Stacy, MD, dean of the Brody SOM.
Dr. Carroll has won numerous awards, including four Best Basic Science Instructor honors and four Excellence in Teaching awards. He was invited to present the 2014 Claude Bernard Distinguished Lecture, a distinction the American Physiological Society bestows on expert instructors. Dr. Carroll’s efforts also helped Brody garner the prestigious ASPIRE-to-Excellence Award for social accountability in 2016, a recognition of the school’s connection to its local community.
Dr. Carroll graduated from the University of Notre Dame and earned his PhD in physiology from the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Newark. He completed postdoctoral training in physiology and biophysics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.