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This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
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Teaching responsibilities:

Mount Mary College is a small, liberal arts college with 1300 undergraduates enrolled.  Our sciences department has three biologists, two chemists and a physicist and supports a biology major and minor and a chemistry major and minor.  To provide a sufficient background for our majors, we biologists have to wear many hats.  While I am an ecologist by training, I teach general biology, zoology, botany, developmental biology, microbiology, and animal behavior.  Almost all of our courses include a lab.

 

Teaching challenges:

Obviously, teaching out of my expertise has been a constant challenge, though an enjoyable one.  I have continued to learn about my field as a whole and increased the breadth and depth of my knowledge.   I have become comfortable tackling a wide range of topics and also being able to tell students "I don't know, let's figure it out."

In addition to being stretched personally, while I came to Mount Mary with several years experience, the students here are much more diverse in every way.  They come from different races and ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, ages, experiences, religions, and communities.  This diversity of background brings interesting perspectives to every class, but also means not all students have the educational background you might expect.  Some of my students haven't been in a classroom in 20 or more years; some come from schools that do not prepare them adequately for college.  This makes figuring out where to start in a given class difficult, and can also require sacrificing content for ensuring comprehension.

 

Professional development goals:

I want to continue to grow as a teacher and a scholar throughout my career.  I care very much that I develop good teaching skills that effectively provide my students will their own skill sets to think and evaluate information and to continue learning on their own, while still providing critical content for my courses.  I am open to new techniques in teaching, but struggle to determine what effect these techniques have and whether or not they should be continued.

Modeling learning by continuing my own scholarship is very important to me as well.  I pursue my own research and often mentor students in research projects connected to mine or on ideas of their own.  I am still developing effective mentoring strategies, and in a similar vein to the above, want to accurately assess what works and what doesn't.

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