Science advances only by the cumulative efforts of a diverse community. As instructors, we must prepare our students with the skills and content to participate in the vast, interconnected dialogue of biology in the many sociocultural contexts where it occurs. Engaging, inclusive, and evidence-based biological education helps students and their communities make more informed decisions about their environment, their society, and their health, and retains and amplifies necessary diverse voices in STEM. While I still have much to learn, my teaching is informed by several standards developed through my own experience and my Masters in Education coursework:
1. Evidenced-Based Teaching and Backwards Design: As a scientist, having evidence to support my pedagogical decisions is important to me. In the classroom, I strive to include active learning to teach skills and content. The course series I redesigned relies almost exclusively on active learning strategies to develop scientific identity, build community among students, develop critical thinking, research, communication, and teamwork skills, and generate evidence-based discussion about culturally relevant biological content. By starting with learning outcomes in mind, I can research and scaffold learning experiences for my students to meet those outcomes and to design assessments that provide evidence they achieve the stated goals.
2. Commitment to Diversity: Central to my teaching is an emphasis on lifting up marginalized communities through three mechanisms: 1) evidence-based teaching that supports equitable student learning (high standards for all, high supports for all), 2) a deliberately communicated culture of care for all students from the first day to the last, 3) structured inclusion of diversity-related scientific material/discussion to challenge the scientific narratives of privileged groups and support marginalized student scientific identities.
3. Prevalence of Student-Driven Work: When students are able to explore ideas and topics that interest them, in ways that interest them, they are more engaged in the process of learning and are more nearly participating in the syntax and actions of our discipline. My classroom focus is on a dynamic atmosphere that gives students agency with support wherever possible: for example, to explore concepts that are meaningful to them and their communities or to participate in longer projects of their own design. These projects give students the skills to continue learning what interests them after the class ends and aim to develop scientific identity and confidence.
4. Enthusiasm: Students are engaged by instructors that are engaged; without true, evident passion for the content, student learning, and achievement, students will be less enthusiastic about the course. This is a daily standard that is vital to my classroom; I portray the sense of enthusiasm for the course that I want my students to feel. This (seemingly ridiculous level of) enthusiasm creates opportunities for students to safely explore their own passions and curiosities and encourages students to interact with me, in class and during office hours, as well as with one another.
Applications in Biology I and II, BIOL 207 + 208, 2016-2020. Teaching Assistant, Biology Department, Drexel University
Role: Entirely redesigned both courses in 2019 using POGIL active learning; created all course materials and syllabi, graded all coursework, led all class sessions, etc. Prior to 2019, created some class materials, graded all assignments, led all class sessions.
Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology II, BIOL 211; 2019. Teaching Assistant, Biology Department, Drexel University
Role: Facilitated active learning activities during class time (Flipped Classroom), led recitation sections, created and led exam review, developed exam questions.
Principles in Molecular Biology, BIOL 218; 2018, 2020. Teaching Assistant, Biology Department, Drexel University
Role: Graded exams and final projects.
General Biology Laboratory for Freshman Majors, BIO 116; 2013-2015. Undergraduate Laboratory Instructor, Biology Department, SUNY Geneseo.
Role: Prepped and led all lab sessions, graded all lab reports, practical, and final exam, prepared and led a final exam review.
General Biology: Diversity, Physiology, Ecology, BIO 119; 2014. Supplemental Instructor, Biology Department, SUNY Geneseo
Role: Facilitated active learning outside of the classroom to help prepare students for exams.