June 4, 2020

Alan Diekman receives Master Teacher Award from the College of Medicine

Alan Diekman, Ph.D., was honored as the 2020 Master Teacher in recognition of his work with first-year medical students. When College of Medicine students are asked about their best teachers, Diekman’s name comes up often. As director of the Molecules to Cells course, Diekman teaches first-year students and works with other faculty to ensure the students gain a firm grasp of biochemistry, cell biology and genetics – including complex concepts that many medical students nationwide struggle to grasp.

“Most importantly, he has convinced students that understanding molecular and cellular mechanisms is an important part of their medical training,” Department of Physiology and Biophysics Chair Michael Jennings, Ph.D., wrote in a letter of support for Diekman, who has served on the faculty since 2002.

“The word ‘outstanding’ may underestimate the quality of Dr. Diekman’s teaching effort, ability and outcomes,” Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Chair Kevin Raney, Ph.D., wrote in his nomination letter. “He is a superb communicator who treats students respectfully, while maintaining high expectations. Dr. Diekman also sets high standards for his colleagues, thereby improving the quality of teaching of those around him.”

James Graham, M.D., executive associate dean for academic affairs in the college, also wrote in support, noting strong performance by UAMS students in areas of the notoriously difficult United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 1 that are covered in Diekman’s course, as well as improved overall performance on the exam in recent years. Diekman has been instrumental in major curriculum revisions that change how first- and second-year medical students prepare for their clinically focused training.

“I am very honored by this recognition from my colleagues, and I thank them for their past support,” said Diekman. “The privilege of educating our medical students in the complex disciplines of biochemistry, cell biology and genetics is both challenging and fulfilling. My goal is to provide our students with a firm foundation in these disciplines, not just for their sake, but also for that of their future patients.”