Hecker has published some of the first fMRI work assessing brain differences in novice and expert clinicians during clinical reasoning, as well as EEG work assessing learning within a health professions education context. In 2017, he received a $365,000 Canada Foundation for Innovation grant to build The Health Education Neuro-assessment Laboratory (THENaL), which is the first research facility in Canada for understanding how brain data relates to learning, education and behavioral test performance within higher education.
Dr. Hecker is an inaugural University of Calgary Teaching Scholar, the Chair of the Medical Education Specialization Graduate program (he teaches courses in educational research design and assessment), and the Chair of the Veterinary Education Research Group. He has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, 90 conference abstracts, and made 30 invited presentations at national and international meetings. Dr. Hecker has run national and international workshops on educational research design, instructional methods, assessment methods, and learning.
Dr. Hecker is on the editorial board for the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, Advances in Health Sciences Education, and the Canadian Medical Education Journal. He is co-chair of the International Council for Veterinary Assessment’s (ICVA) Academic Veterinary Assessment Working Group, in which he is working with members to increase assessment literacy within veterinary schools.
For over 10 years, Dan has coordinated the collection and utilization of indirect outcomes assessment data for the UQ Bachelor of Veterinary Science program. He has also compiled a veterinary-specific clinical teaching induction resource (online and print) for the UQ Veterinary School, which is completed by all clinical staff employed in the veterinary teaching hospital. He recently collaborated with a range of international partner institutions on the ‘VetSet2Go’ project (https://www.vetset2go.edu.au/), examining veterinary employability, led by Associate Professor Martin Cake.
Locally, Dan leads the School’s Vet Ed Network, an informal group of academics and clinicians, keen to support and encourage staff in their teaching endeavours. This includes the preparation of written ‘Teacher Showcases’ to highlight the terrific grassroots work of teaching staff, for the school newsletter. Since 2011, he has organized an annual “Teaching Innovation Forum” for staff to present and discuss their teaching ideas, innovations and projects. The forum aims to encourage cross-pollination of ideas, future collaborations and simply just celebrate what everyone is up to!
More broadly, Dan is a member of the “VetEd Down Under” Steering committee, which includes representatives from each of the veterinary schools in Australia and New Zealand. Modelled on the very successful VetEd Symposium held by the Veterinary Schools Council (UK, Ireland and the Netherlands), the biennial “VetEd Down Under” Australasian Veterinary Educators Symposium, aims to promote veterinary education through inclusive sharing of research, innovation and best practice.
Following on from the successful inaugural conference “Sustainability” in Adelaide 2018, the symposium is earmarked to travel to the University of Queensland in early 2020. We would welcome colleagues from Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Pacific and across the World who are keen to be a part of this event. More information will be available in the coming months!