PhD, 2001 University of Missouri
Teaches and researches learning in introductory level undergraduate science courses
My undergraduate teaching interests include introducing non-science majors to the importance of science in our everyday lives. I continue to look for ways to help undergraduate students realize that 1) they can “do” science and 2) biology is both interesting and vital for them to understand. I use BioSci 1010, General Principles and Concepts in Biology, as an opportunity to convince our future citizens that biology is part of their lives. I would like students leaving my class to understand the importance of issues such as global climate change, antibiotic resistant “superbugs”, and biotic diversity. I want students to find these topics important enough to go home and share what they have learned with their family and friends. Beyond the importance, my goal is for students to know the facts about the issues we discuss and be able to defend their position using research-based evidence. However, a snapshot of biological concerns today is not satisfactory. I also equip students with the skills to research science-related topics of future interest. We discuss how science is done and how to judge resources for their reliability and validity so in the future as new issues come up they are prepared to research the topic successfully on their own.
Other teaching responsibilities:
- BioSc 1200 – Botany – A 5-credit lab and lecture course offered both face-to-face and online. It is both a general elective science credit course and a service course, fulfilling pre-requisites for non-biology majors.
- BioSc 2100 – Infectious Diseases – A 3-credit lab and lecture course offered every other spring. It is designed as an elective for non-science majors.
- BioSc 2002 – Genetic Diseases – A 3-credit lecture course. It is an elective for non-science majors.
My graduate teaching interests include exposing graduate students to and providing them with guidance and experience with undergraduate education. I use my interactions with graduate students, such as my graders or teaching assistants, to educate them on the art of teaching and learning. Dr. Pat Friedrichsen and Dr. John David formalized this mentorship to create a Teaching Intern program that gives graduate students an opportunity to interact with undergraduate education. This program matches a graduate student with a faculty mentor through a semester. During the semester, the Teaching Intern plays an integral role in the management and design of one course, including regular meetings with the faculty mentor to discuss teaching philosophies and challenges, preparing and presenting lecture material and designing assessment. It gives graduate students an in-depth experience with undergraduate education just short of running the class themselves. I enjoy having this one-on-one mentoring opportunity with our graduate students.
My other education activities include education research. Each semester, I conduct a research project that assesses students’ understanding of material when they enter the classroom, evaluates a teaching method, and/or measures students’ attitudes on the topics covered and their learning. This exercise provides me with helpful insights into my students, but also verifiable information on what facilitates learning and what methods increase students’ experience with biology.
David B. Dunn Faculty Award in Plant Biology 2019
Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching Fellow (Yale University, Center for Teaching & Learning) 2017
MU Nominee, U.S. Professor of the Year 2015
MU Nomination for the U.S. Professor of the Year 2013
The Ernest L. Boyer International Award for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology 2012
Excellence in Teaching with Technology Award 2011
William T. Kemper Fellow for Excellence in Teaching 2011
Graduate Faculty Mentor Award 2010
Gold Chalk Award for Excellence in Teaching 2009
Distinguished Service to Science Award 2009
Mizzou 39 Outstanding Mentor Award 2008
Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award 2007
Lambda Chi Alpha Professor of the Year Award 2007
College of Education High Flyer Award 2006
Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers Award 2003