ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
Table of contents
No headers

My teaching responsibilities

I teach undergraduate and graduate classes in physiology and biochemistry.  Physiology classes include: a 3000 level introductory reproductive physiology class which I have taught for 10 years, and a new 4000 level course for Spring 2012 on companion animal and wild species reproduction.  Graduate courses include: a 8000 level mechanisms of hormone action course which I have taught for 4 years , and a new team-taught, online course on growth and development slated for release in Spring 2012.  Outside of the classroom, I also serve as faculty advisor or research mentor for undergraduates.

Teaching challenge

I am interested in determining whether framing difficult physiological concepts, in the form of case studies which emphasize bioethics, can enhance student retention and understanding in my courses.  This question arises from the fact that many basic and critical endocrine principles may be easy for the students to memorize but often difficult for the students to ‘truly’ understand and extrapolate to problem-solving situations. The concept of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis is such a core principle.  In assignments, I frame this concept in relation to a clinical case that includes discussion of bioethics.  For example, in the Sex Determination and Development module, an athlete is discussed who is being reviewed by the International Olympic Committee for eligibility to compete in the upcoming Olympics.   This individual is suffering from an intersex disorder and the students go through activities to establish diagnostics, pathophysiology and discuss the personal and societal implications of this disorder (i.e. pediatric gender assignment).  The students find the exercise interesting and relevant but I don’t know if it is truly moving them from a state of ‘mastery’ to ‘understanding’.  I would like to determine if discussing bioethics and ‘real-world’ situations is really effective in this setting or is this simply a personal bias.  That is, I want to educate my students to learn the basic science and its applications but also see the ethical implications of the scientific ‘powers’ we possess. I also hope to foster their enthusiasm as life-long learners, as well as, coerce them to become good stewards of science in our society. So, because I believe that it is important for the students to discuss bioethics, am I assuming incorrectly that doing so is helping them understand and integrate the concepts ?

Professional development goals

I have never had the opportunity to really test whether my supposed 'improved' methods are actually effective to teach physiological concepts.  By participating in this residency, I hope to learn how to ask a focused question and design and implement classroom measurements that will allow conclusions to be reached about best methods.  In addition, in the long-term, I would like to be able to contribute to the creation and/or implementation of science education policy, either locally or at state or federal level.

Tag page
You must login to post a comment.