(COLLEGE STATION) – When it comes to teaching, a professor is judged most critically by his or her students. As a result, the fact that Dr. Gary McCord was named “Best Lecturer” by students at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine during 11 out of the last 12 years speaks volumes. He has also received numerous teaching awards on the college and university level. This spring, Dr. McCord was recognized at the state level by being named a 2005 Piper Professor by the prestigious Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
“To be recognized by the Piper Foundation is an honor,” McCord said. “This award is especially gratifying because the aspect of teaching often gets overlooked in the grand scheme of things, so it is nice to see it valued and recognized.”
The Piper Foundation gives 15 annual awards of $5,000 to professors for superior teaching at the college level, and has been recognizing outstanding teaching since 1958. Selections are made on the basis of nominations submitted by each college or university in the state.
Dr. McCord teaches gross anatomy and neuroscience to first-year medical students, and offers an anatomy elective for second-year students prior to their licensing exam. He believes the most important aspect of teaching is relevance or showing students how the basic science knowledge they learn in their first two years of medical school will help them in their careers as physicians.
“If the students understand the relevance of what I am teaching them and they see how they will use the information in the future, they will put in that extra effort to learn it,” McCord said.
In addition to his teaching and administrative duties as assistant dean for student affairs at the College of Medicine, Dr. McCord is a staff radiologist at the Burleson-St. Joseph Health Center in Caldwell and Texas A&M’s Beutel Health Center, and serves as an independent radiologic consultant to local physicians.
“My work as a radiologist gives me a good and current idea of what the students need to learn on a daily basis,” McCord said. “I use actual cases to show them applicability of what they are doing in class. It’s not just about telling them the details, but really teaching them the bigger concepts.”
Dr. McCord has been a member of the faculty at the College of Medicine since 1987. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas A&M University and his M.D. degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

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