Professor Michael Wiley

Michael WileyDr. Michael Wiley completed an honours B.Sc. and then a Master's degree in Zoology at the University of Toronto, a Ph.D. in Anatomy at Queen’s University, and joined the Department of Anatomy in 1976 as an Assistant Professor. Over the years he has served as Undergraduate Coordinator, Graduate Coordinator, Deputy Chair of the Department, and Acting Department Chair. When the Department of Anatomy joined the Department of Surgery in 1999, he was appointed the first Chair of the Division of Anatomy in the Department of Surgery; a position he continues to hold. He also holds a graduate faculty appointment with the Institute of Medical Sciences and a cross appointment with the Division of Biomedical Communications.

Since joining the University of Toronto, Dr. Wiley has taught Anatomy, Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, Embryology and Histology to a variety of students, from first year undergraduates to medical residents. Over the years, he has taught students from multiple faculties, including Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Arts and Science, Physical and Health Education, and the School of Graduate Studies. He has been a Course Director for many of these constituencies and is currently Course Director for the first year Structure and Function course in the medical program as well as ANA 301, a course in Human Embryology and Teratology in the Faculty of Arts and Science. He contributes to the Structure and Function, Brain and Behaviour and Metabolism and Nutrition blocks of first year Medicine.

Dr. Wiley is an innovator in medical education and has moved the Faculty of Medicine forward in creating student-focused teaching methods. From his initial use of multimedia in teaching in the 1970’s, Dr. Wiley has since created a virtual microscope that can be used from home and animated dissections accessible on the internet to all who wish to learn it. He continues to revolutionize medical education from this innovative perspective.

Much of his teaching time now is spent lecturing to relatively large classes; but he still enjoys teaching in the laboratory setting the best. He finds it the most effective way to teach and to learn Anatomy and it provides an opportunity to get to know students on an individual basis. The material covered in Dr. Wiley’s courses involves breaking down the human body into instructive patterns. Similarly, Dr. Wiley breaks down his course material into manageable segments, providing the key elements needed for his learners to piece together their own understanding of global concepts. Throughout this process, Dr. Wiley ensures that he is endlessly available to his students. Through the use of technology and innovations to organization and presentation skills, and his incomparable approachability, Dr. Wiley’s teaching is profoundly effective and inherently personal. He has had an “indelible impact on all levels of education at the University as a teacher, mentor, innovator and leader for our students” and is called a “master teacher” by his peers. His students tend to note one thing above all else; his empathy, humanity and compassion.

His contributions to student academic life have been recognized on two occasions with the W.T. Aikins Award (1997, 2008) and on four occasions with the Harry Whittaker Memorial Award (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010). The W.T. Aikins Award is considered to be the highest recognition for undergraduate teaching in the Faculty of Medicine. The Whittaker Award, selected by the medical class, recognizes a teacher who gave encouragement and displayed genuine concern for student well-being and, through personal commitment to quality teaching, provided practical and clear insights in the basic sciences. Throughout his career Dr. Wiley has been fortunate to learn by example from a number of exemplary teachers including Harry Whittaker, after whom the Whittaker Award was named, who dedicated over fifty years of his life to supporting, teaching and offering friendly guidance to the medical class at the University of Toronto. Dr. Wiley continues that tradition and often stands out within our faculty and university because of his expert combination of innovative teaching methods and his effectiveness in delivering and organizing a multitude of learning opportunities to our learners.