ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
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1) Describe your teaching responsibilities:

I'm responsible for teaching two (@ 3 credit hour) Microbiology majors courses each fall and spring: MIBO3500 (Introductory Microbiology) and MIBO3510L (Introductory Microbiology Laboratory).  Typically, I have 300 students in MIBO3500 each term and approximately 180 in MIBO3510L each term.  MIBO3500 is a pre-requisite or co-requisite for MIBO3510L and they are both required for Microbiology majors, but other STEM majors require only the lecture course component.  MIBO3500 is taught in 2 sessions per week, each for 1 hr 15 minutes.  For MIBO3510L, I teach a pre-lab lecture (1 hour 15 min) once per week while graduate teaching assistants instruct the students in the classroom (18/students per grad student/lab).  I'm also responsible for mentoring the graduate teaching assistants for the course, and work with them to hone their teaching skills.  The undergraduates who take my classes are primarily pre-medical, pre-veterinary, pre-dental and pre-pharmacy (~90%) but also includes those who wish to enter graduate research programs in STEM sciences and science education, as well as a small number of individuals who wish to enter directly into the job market after earning their B.S. degrees.


2) Describe your student learning challenge or problem:

I teach carry two very large courses each semester:  300 students in a lecture course, and 180 in a lab lecture course.  I encourage students to interact in class and have incorporated engaging group learning activities semi-weekly in the classroom, but I feel my assessment of their impact is not as meaningful as it should be.  Inspiration for student-centered learning in the classroom as a means to promote student performance and engagement came from evidence which documented that increased student engagement in class also promoted student performance.  Publications demonstrating the positive impacts of a cooperative peer learning environment’s contribution to enhanced student performance also inspired these activities that I’ve developed and implemented over the last year.

During these activities in my classroom, teaching assistants and I move about the room and drop into working groups, sometimes passively observing and sometimes actively engaging in their discussion.  Currently, student participation is rewarded with a small amount extra credit, and there is no mechanism to control the quality of student work on the group activity.  Exam questions are often modeled from questions in the group activities, and allow me to measure whether or not students can apply the lessons learned from group work to new, but similar, situations.  One challenge I face is to find/develop an effective tool to assess the impact of these new activities on student learning while minimizing the cumbersome amount of time grading written work from the large student population.  Secondly, I need to adjust my grading policy to encourage meaningful participation from my students rather than mere attendance.


3) Describe your professional goals:

My short- and long-term personal and professional goals are 1) to improve and optimize my own time and effort in assessing my teaching effectiveness in the classroom, 2) to develop additional teaching strategies and student learning assessment tools, 3) to share this knowledge with colleagues, local and worldwide, 4) to foster a lifelong love of learning in my students which promotes critical thinking skills, engagement and enthusiasm, and 5) to secure tenure as at UGA.

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