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Benson, Spencer

University of Maryland, College Park MD

Director Center for Teaching Excellence
Associate Professor,
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
Phone 301-314-1288, FAX 301-314-0385

 Biographical Sketch

I am the Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, an associate professor in the Dept. of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics and an affiliate associate professor in the Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction. As director of the Center for Teaching Excellence I am responsible for overseeing more than 20 programs designed to improve teaching and learning through professional development of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates.  My past accomplishment include servering as departmental director of undergraduate studies, director of the departmental honors program, a consultant for Project 2061, the Quality Undergraduate Education (QUE) initiative, the Coalition for Education in the Life Science (CELS), Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibility (SENCER), and the Center for Advancement of Stem Education (CASE).I have been involved in numerous K-16 education initiatives at Maryland including an on-line Master Program in the Life Sciences for high school biology teachers I co-chaired of the College Board’s AP-Biology Redesign Commission and continues to work with the College Board in implementing a new 21st Century biology curriculum that focuses on depth of understanding, concepts and processes rather then broad content coverage.  I am Co-PI on a number of science education grants including the MD-K16 NSF Math-Science Partnership, a NSF (National Science Foundation Change and Sustainability in Higher Education (CASHÉ) grant and Project NEXUS, a NSF grant for improving elementary and middle school science teaching and a NSF grant for improving scholarship in teaching in the biological sciences.Within ASM I have bee chair of the Undergraduate Education Committee of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM),  chair of ASM’s Div-W (Teaching) and currently a member of ASM’s International Education Committee.  I am a founding member of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL) and the ASM sponsored Biological Scholars Program.I have been a University</placetype> of <placename>Maryland CTE-Lilly Teaching Fellow, a 2001 Carnegie for the Advancement of Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (CASTL) fellow, and will be a 2008-2009 Fulbright Fellow to Hong Kong</place>.  My research interest include anti-microbial activities in traditional Chinese herbal medicines, the development of pedagogies for teaching science for all students, assessment of student learning and K14 science education.In 2000 I was  a visiting faculty member at Academia Sinica in and in 2007  I received a small Ministry of Education grant to study science education in Taiwan and his 2008 Fulbright work is on Liberal Arts education for the 21st century.I have published numerous articles on science education, pedagogy, and professional development of graduate student and faculty.


Project Title:

Using student selected interest areas to enhance learning in a non-majors sience course.


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