ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
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Teaching responsibilities.

I teach at the University of Colorado Denver.  We are a primarily undergraduate institution, though we recently merged with the medical school and now are considered a Research 1 institution.  My position is technically 40:40:20 teaching, research, and service.  I teach three upper division courses, which means they are a mix of upper division undergraduates and Master’s students.  The courses are Introduction to Biotechnology, Topics in Molecular Biology, and a Molecular Biology Techniques laboratory course.  I also head the Biotechnology Certificate program.  Though UCD has a fairly diverse student population on paper, and a fairly diverse student population starting in general biology, there is little to no diversity in the upper division courses.  My long term goal is to reach a diverse student body population early on and show them that research and biotechnology are viable career options and encourage this population to remain in the sciences. I have designed a lower division molecular biology techniques laboratory course specifically for a program devoted to helping underrepresented students gain research experience early in their undergraduate careers and hopefully continue on to graduate school. 

Professional Development Goals.

I have found myself running through each semester teaching and making notes to improve / evaluate exercises or assignments and then the breaks come and I am pouring myself into my research program in plant molecular biology and the cycle repeats.  Through the SoTL I have committed to making time to evaluate and document my teaching efforts.  One of the areas I am interested in evaluating is the integration of research projects into the classroom.  In my molecular techniques laboratory course, I try to integrate some of the research I do on plant stress response genes into the teaching exercises.  The challenge with bringing in authentic research questions, is that the experiments don’t always work as expected.  Though these can be “teaching moments”, sometimes this becomes a distraction and source of frustration for the students.  I hope to learn means of evaluating this type of course and determine how to have the best mix of “cookbook” and research-based experiments so that the students accomplish the objectives I have set for the course. 

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