Faculty Educator of the Month: September 2010

Patrick Alan Lennon, Ph.D.

Patrick Alan Lennon, Ph.D., Education Coordinator for the Molecular Genetic Technology Program and Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in the MD Anderson School of Health Professions, has been named the September 2010 Faculty Educator of the Month.
In the School of Health Professions, students can earn a bachelor of science degree in a variety of programs, consisting of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Cytogenetic Technology, Cytotechnology, Diagnostic Imaging, Histotechnology, Medical Dosimetry, Molecular Genetic Technology, and Radiation Therapy. The Molecular Genetic Technology Program is approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences and combines lectures and laboratory and technical activities, including research (which is presented by undergraduates in local, state and national forums). Entering seniors spend three semesters in the program; students entering as juniors spend 5 semesters.
As Education Coordinator for the program, Dr. Lennon has been instrumental in developing it and adjusting it to the needs of its students. Specifically, he played a significant role in creating the combined junior year of the program, which resulted in a doubling of the student number in the four laboratory science programs in the school. The Molecular Genetic Technology Program has grown from 5 to 58 students per year during the 4.5 years of Dr. Lennon’s employment.
Furthermore, Dr. Lennon participates extensively in assisting students through the program in each semester by helping lead courses, giving lectures, leading laboratory experiments, and supervising research. He also coordinates student progress through the program; assists students in completing research projects, writing manuscripts, and preparing poster presentations; and helps students prepare for board certification examinations and search for employment. Reports of many of the undergraduates’ senior research projects have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
Additionally, Dr. Lennon helps recruit and review program applicants, interviews students, solicits research experiments and funding, and identifies external laboratories to which students can submit applications. He also supervises two teaching laboratories, two Senior Allied Health Educators, one laboratory preparation area, and an on-site teaching collaboration with PerkinElmer.
Since 2006, Dr. Lennon has taught eight different courses in the School of Health Professions, two of which he designed and most of which he participates in annually. He also helped create and enhance the program’s first Comprehensive Certification Review Course, authored the laboratory manual for the five-semester-hour course Basic Laboratory Techniques I, and helped secure clinical rotation sites for the program.
Dr. Lennon has received recognition for his educational efforts with the Cytogenetic Technology Program’s Outstanding Faculty Award in 2009 and the Theriot Award for Development of Significant Materials in the Area of Media and Equipment from the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Scientists in 2008. He also received the Scientific Research Award as well as the Omicron Sigma National Service Award from the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Scientists in 2009.
Dr. Lennon received his Ph.D. degree in Biological Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1995. He then went on to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he served as Assistant Professor and later tenured Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. There he obtained the largest federal grant in the university’s history. In 2001, he came to Texas when he was named Director of Science Education Programs at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. After serving as a resource development officer and secondary science teacher at Abundant Life Christian School in La Marque from 2002 to 2003, Dr. Lennon came to MD Anderson, where he initially was a Cytogenetics Research Assistant in the Department of Hematopathology while pursuing a certificate in the Cytogenetic Technology Program.
After receiving his certificate in 2004, Dr. Lennon continued his education as a postdoctoral fellow in the American Board of Medical Genetics-approved Clinical Cytogenetics Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine. Upon completion of his fellowship in 2006, Dr. Lennon returned to MD Anderson as an Instructor and Education Coordinator for the Molecular Genetic Technology Program in the School of Health Professions. He was promoted to Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in 2007.
Currently, Dr. Lennon serves on several committees at MD Anderson, including the Education Resource Committee, Molecular Genetic Technology Program Admissions Committee (which he chairs), Molecular Genetic Technology Program Advisory Board (which he also chairs), Institutional Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Quality Enhancement Plan and Reaccreditation Committees, King Foundation Selection Committee, School of Health Professions Curriculum Committee, and School of Health Professions Junior Curriculum Committee. Furthermore, he is serving his second term on the Faculty Senate, this time with the additional responsibilities of chairing the Faculty Senate Finance Committee. He also serves on the Trainee and Alumni Affairs Steering Committee. On the national level, Dr. Lennon is the Chair of the Product Development Committee for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Scientists, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Genetic Technologists, and 2011 Annual Meeting Director for the Association of Genetic Technologists, which he co-chaired in 2010.
Dr. Lennon has been in great demand as a speaker and presenter at numerous meetings throughout the world, including recently at the Chinese National Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Also, he has been principal investigator or coprincipal investigator for several grant funded projects. Dr. Lennon currently serves on the editorial boards for two journals and has been an article reviewer for three others. Finally, throughout his career, Dr. Lennon has authored more than 20 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.