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Biology Education

Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) at a community college may provide bridge between community college and R1 institution to support URM student retention in Biology research

Increasing opportunities for undergraduate students to practice research, particularly underrepresented student populations in STEM, improves the recruitment and retention of these students because they are exposed to an authentic research environment in their required courses and learn valuable skills necessary for success in their discipline. Community colleges are an excellent venue for providing more inclusive access to research experiences because underrepresented minorities (URMs) account for almost half of all undergraduates attending community colleges.

April Graduate Student Seminars

Join us for our spring 2024 grad student seminar series!

Unseating the Competition: Deciphering Disease Resistance with Effectors, IAAs, and TPRs
By: Benjamin Downing (Nemhauser Lab)

Feeding efficiency of sunbirds and comparisons with other nectar-feeding birds
By: David Cuban (Rico-Guevara Lab)

Keeping it STLYISH: Development Genetics of Wind Pollination Syndrome
By: Anthony Garcia (Di Stilio Lab)

Bridging the Gap: Enactive Mastery for Authentic Biology Education

The field of biology is witnessing unprecedented innovation, driven by major advancements in technologies like next-generation sequencing, gene editing, and drones. These breakthroughs are crucial for addressing pressing issues in human health and the environment.
However, despite this progress, there is a growing disconnect among students in higher education. Many perceive traditional higher education as lacking relevance, creating an existential gap. And rightly so.

Disrupting Passive Engagement to Promote Student Self-Efficacy and Metacognition

I believe active learning requires disruption of what is termed the “Guest-Host relationship” commonly employed in classrooms. In this paradigm, students (as guests) are expected to adhere to the instructor’s (the host’s) guidelines for how teaching and learning should proceed. Alternatively, when a student’s own values and learning goals are reflected in course curriculum, there is a shift in the student’s role from guest to collaborator.

Creating activities for building inclusive classrooms and engaging students to think critically

Education research has shown conclusively that undergraduates learn and retain more with active learning. In this interactive seminar, I will share with you some of the different ways I use evidence-based active and inclusive learning strategies to help students learn scientific concepts, to develop their critical thinking skills, and to create equitable and inclusive learning environments in classrooms small and large.

Using structure and uncertainty to empower students

Students arrive in our classroom from a wide range of backgrounds; there is therefore very little that we can assume of our students’ prior experiences. How best can we draw students in and then meet them where they are at? Teaching is arguably about equity and inclusion, as a practice. My approach starts by first asking students to extend grace and kindness to themselves and to others – from there, I use student-centered learning and evidence-based practices to promote equity across the biology curriculum, regardless of class size.

Beyond the Books: Crafting Engaging and Inclusive Learning Experiences

Given the rich diversity of knowledge, experiences and identities among our students, what strategies can we employ to ensure classes – both small and large – are both welcoming and engaging? My classroom methodology centers around evidence-based practices, vulnerability, and deliberate intention: from engaging every student through active learning to spurring critical thinking via ethical dilemmas and infusing lessons with societal context to address historical and contemporary inequities.


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