Deborah W. Vaughan, PhD, Announces Retirement

Dr. Deborah W. Vaughan, Assistant Dean for Admissions, co-director of the PrISM BUSM I foundational science integrated curriculum and Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, has announced her intention to retire as of May 31, 2020.

A graduate of the University of Vermont, Dr. Vaughan received her doctorate in cell biology from Boston University in 1971 and completed postdoctoral studies with Dr. Alan Peters, chair of the Department of Anatomy at BUSM. She joined our faculty in 1972, where her biomedical research activities focused on the application of light and electron microscope techniques to understand the effects of advancing age on the central nervous system, in particular, the neurons’ ability to respond to peripheral axon injury.

Following 25 years of NIA-funded research, Dr. Vaughan’s professional focus shifted to teaching, learning and education, with a focus on education technology. In 2015, she became the inaugural director of the BUSM first-year integrated foundational science course, Principles of Science and Medicine (PrISM). Before the redesign of the first-year medical curriculum, she had been the course director for the highly regarded Medical Histology course, for which she published an interactive atlas and website (2002) and into which she introduced virtual microscopy in 2005. She also served as one of the core faculty of the BUSM Medical Neurosciences course.

As an educator, she has received various teaching awards from the Medical School, including the Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching (1999), our highest teaching award, and Educator-of-the-Year in Preclinical Sciences from the Committee on Faculty Affairs (2001 and 2011). In 2013, Dr. Vaughan was awarded Boston University’s highest recognition for Excellence in Teaching, the Metcalf Cup and Prize.

Over her nearly 50 years at BUSM, Dr. Vaughan has participated in numerous national, University, Medical Campus, Medical School and Department standing and ad hoc committees, most recently those concerned with medical and graduate education, standards and curriculum. She co-chairs the Boston University Educational Technologies Committee, one of the BU Information Services & Technology Governance Committees. In 2016 Dr. Vaughan oversaw the creation of the Godley Digital Media Studio at BUMC. Most recently, between 2017 and 2019, she served as the Faculty Accreditation Lead for BUSM’s successful LCME accreditation process.