Janice Lapsansky

Senior Instructor · she/her/hers


As an educator and a perpetual student myself, I continually acquire new training and skills so that I may contribute to advances in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and promote health in my community, in as many capacities as possible. I have a long and varied history at Western, beginning with my first position (1985) as a part-time Lecturer in Biology. I currently teach GUR and upper-division classes as a Senior Instructor in Biology, including Human Anatomy & Physiology and Organismal Biology.

Over the past 35 years, my collaborations across campus have worked to bring the voice of non-tenured faculty to numerous committees and initiatives at department and university levels. To highlight just a few examples, I am proud of my contributions that helped develop and guide new academic programs, including FIG clusters and FYE courses, along with the successful recruitment of faculty and administrators by serving on numerous search committees. I am a founding member of the Western Coalition for Integrity and enjoy both the challenge and inspiration in the group’s work to promote a culture of integrity in every aspect of university life.  I was elected to the UFWWU Executive Board as an at-large representative in 2016 and have served on the collective bargaining team since 2015. WWU students may now enjoy the outcome of a 5-year collaboration among administrators and the departments of Biology and Health and Human Development for which I’m particularly proud: a new human cadaver dissection program for students preparing for clinical and research careers in health care.

Dovetailing with my responsibility to the faculty, staff, and students of Western is my strong commitment to a safe and healthy Whatcom County for everyone. As a Clinical Research Coordinator and Firefighter/EMT with teaching credentials in firefighting and prehospital medicine, I am privileged to contribute to a system whose work has advanced emergency response practices locally and across the US. These experiences also inform my teaching through in-class discussions and activities created with applied clinical problems and case studies. Most EMS professionals in our community received training from me, and I regularly teach community CPR and First Aid classes. I also served on the leadership and field teams for the county Medical Reserve Corps, providing planning and implementation of COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics during the height of the pandemic.  I am eternally grateful for the opportunities to share knowledge and expertise that have a direct and tangible impact on the lives of my neighbors.

I aggressively pursue other passions similarly related to promoting wellness, including service as a doula and a USSF Soccer Referee. Inspired further by the natural environment that surrounds us in the PNW, I share cycling, fishing, gardening, and outrigger canoe racing with family and friends, after finishing the “chores” on our hobby farm in Ferndale.

Research Interests

- Prehospital methods to improve survival and preserve function for patients who suffer serious medical emergencies.

- Continuous Quality Improvement and Education in Emergency Medical Systems of Care (Pre-hospital/EMS, Cardiovascular, Trauma, Stroke). 

- Innovative teaching methods to encourage principle-based reasoning in STEM students.