I deeply believe in both the value of a liberal arts education and in our responsibility as educators to engage students actively in their own learning. These convictions have guided me to where I am today as a biology professor, having taught a range of courses, including biology major courses from introductory to advanced levels, as well as a University Seminar for first-year students.
The opportunity to help craft a curriculum that’s committed to both the liberal arts and to engaging with students in a STEM learning experience is very exciting. Pedagogically, I hope to apply scientific teaching principles to the design of my new Engagements course. The rationale here is that teaching science should reflect the very nature of science. That is, it should embrace the process of discovery. My approach to scientific teaching combines active learning strategies with a broad range of teaching methods and activities that can engage students with diverse backgrounds and learning style preferences.
My research interests and passion have always focused on the field of genetics, and I can’t think of a more exciting and contemporary topic for an Engagements course. There are so many fundamental topics that could be considered for developing students’ abilities to understand and evaluate scientific discoveries and theories, while also addressing broader societal issues/implications: Finding human disease genes, pre-symptomatic genetic diagnosis, gene therapy, genes and behavior, the nature/uses of human genome information, GMOs, the pros/cons of personal genome testing, etc. I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities!