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Teaching Responsibilities

 

I work in the areas of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology and have taught a variety of courses including graduate lectures and seminars, undergraduate research, lower and upper level courses for science, health science, and engineering majors, and a natural science core course for students majoring in fields outside of science and engineering.  Currently I am teaching three undergraduate courses:

  1. Inquiries in Cell & Molecular Biology, a first year course for Biology, Biochemistry, and Behavioral Neuroscience majors who have AP credit for General Biology - taught without a lab, but with Service-Learning
  2. Biochemistry, an intermediate course taken by a variety of science majors - accompanied by a laboratory
  3. Research, an intermediate/advanced hands-on laboratory course in which students work on aspects of my bioremediation research project

 


 

Teaching Challenges

    The Inquiries class is not large in relative terms, but it is large when trying to coordinate Service-Learning and provide the kinds of learning and assessment that I want.  This course is not meeting a specific requirement in the curriculum, but is meant to transition the AP students into the higher-level courses, so I have a great deal of freedom in choosing content.  However, I do want to be sure to fill in the gaps and even out some of the variation in students’ foundational knowledge.

 

   In the Biochemistry class there are many different majors with a large degree of variation in interest level and background.  Some students are required to take it (Biochemistry, Chemistry); some use it to fulfill a degree option (Biology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Chemical Engineering); some take it as an elective (Health Sciences and random pre-meds).  Many students have already had a co-operative education experience in a research setting, but some have not.  The biggest challenges here are prior knowledge and addressing the wide range of interests and learning styles.

 

  The research class is very small and very hands-on and practical.  Students' backgrounds in terms of coursework and research experience vary quite a bit, but this is much easier to address with a small group and a focused topic.  The bigger challenges revolve around getting students to think like scientists.

 

 

Professional Development Goals

As I work to improve my teaching and enhance student learning, I would like to be able to better assess course components and teaching strategies to determine their effectiveness in attaining course-specific objectives.  I would also like to be able to assess student progress towards overarching goals, such as deep learning of core concepts within the discipline that can be applied to a broad variety of problems across disciplines, understanding of and facility with elements of the scientific endeavor, and development of key professional skills.  And I am looking forward to being part of a dedicated community of educators who can support and encourage one another.



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