C. Frank Starmer
Associate Dean for Learning Technologies
Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University
Duke - National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School

Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore
8 College Road
Singapore 169857

phone: +65 6516 5668
email: frank.starmer at duke-nus dot edu dot sg

I'm having the biggest adventure of my life: the opportunity to build a learning enterprise from the ground up. This is an opportunity to put a bit of life into Gene Stead's (my first boss at Duke, Chairman of Medicine) dreams: From Stead To Singapore: Building a new way to learn (Indexed voice annotated video). The Singapore venture is also an opportunity to out-Duke Duke. We start our out-Dukeing Duke by recognizing that lecture-based curricula do not prepare a student for life after school. Since all our students have completed undergraduate school, they already know now to learn via the lecture-based delivery model of the curriculum. To take our students to the next level, learning on their own or with colleagues, they must develop new skills - that of being comfortable with their uncertainties as well as knowing how to approach uncertainties. Assisting the transition, we strive to awaken childish curiosity about everything. This radically differs from lecture-driving learning, in that uncertainties are resolved via memorization and curiosity is often suppressed by peers or faculty. Addressing uncertainties, whether in the classroom or at the bedside requires curiosity, good problem solving and critical thinking skills. These skills form part of the foundation of our program.

The Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School has no formal lectures. Our learning is team-based, learning from each other. Our content mastery is biased toward what we use 80% of the time in order to minimize exposure to the forgetting process. We have added search skills to the list of core competencies that one much master. Our goal is to exchange learning soon-forgotten concepts for curiosity-driven learning. Our delivery of learning resources is via USB disk, to reduce dependence on the Internet. Our learning resources consist of video, powerpoint presentations, voice annotated powerpoints (video play lists) and pdf documents. We enable students to build a personalized learning-flow, playlists of resources they harvest from our libraries as well as from the Internet. The new Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School is a great laboratory for exploring learning as imparted by my dad and Gene Stead.

When not at work, I am engaged in chasing curiosity with family and subjecting myself to weekly spider therapy sessions, a well known remedy for Singapore's too-many-people. Spider therapy transcripts are available in my photo essays, where I reveal what others frequently do not see (because they have not enabled their curious eyes and learned to focus their curiosity).

Frank Starmer at Duke-NUS
Frank at Duke-NUS

frank starmer, unbuilding photographer
Frank in the field