Dr. Daphne Norton and Dr. Pat Marsteller taught this course to 18 postdocs and graduate fellows in Fall 2008. During the academic job interview, perspective new professors are often asked what they could contribute to a large introductory course in their discipline, and what specialty courses they feel they could add to the department in which they are interviewing. To this end, Unit II focused on the development of both an introductory and a specialty course in the student’s field of study. While continuing the study of teaching methods and pedagogy begun in Unit I, students learned about topics that are relevant to larger classes, including active learning, problem-based learning, assessment, and technologies such as clickers, smart boards, podcasts, and electronic classroom management programs. Students designed a syllabus for each of their potential courses that will be driven by their course objectives. Other topics of discussion will include classroom management and policies, resources, and textbook selection. Unit II allowed students to enter the practicum portion of the certificate program with course materials developed, and will also help students to be better prepared for job interviews.
Four graduate students applied for the Dean’s Teaching fellowship as a result. Four new courses will be taught in 2009-10. Other participants have given invited talks and three are applying for faculty positions this year. Course evaluations were exceedingly positive (average 8.5/9) and participants continue to work with the faculty leaders on curriculum projects. Participants developed syllabi for introductory Biology, Pscychology and Chemistry courses for majors and non-majors. Advanced course syllabi included Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurogenetics, Cellular Neuroscience, Immunology, forensic Science, Evolutionary Psychology, Biochemistry and Introduction to Medical Diagnosis. Each student also developed a teaching philosophy statement and elements of assessment for each course. For example, Meera Modi developed an upper level seminar Special Topics in NBB: Neuroscience and Philosophy which she taught with Dr. Marsteller in Fall 2009. The class examined philosophy and neuroscience of emotion, conciousness , free will and morality through reading and discussion of over 40 primary literature papers.
Since the graduate school is reviewing requirements for all certificate programs and has put a hold on the creation of new certificate programs in the interim, we are offering the course formally this year through the cooperation of the Chemistry department and the Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. We have not yet been able to establish the courses on teaching and mentoring as a formal certificate program due to changes in the graduate schools requirements for certificate programs. This year we plan to extend the advisory group and to submit a new application for the certificate program. All materials developed by participants will be included on the ScienceNET website, the CASES website or the FUSE web wiki site. We are also developing an IRB application and evaluation instruments for formal evaluation of these seminars and the new courses that emerge from them. A paper, based in part on this work was presented at PBL 2008 in Collima, Mexico.
Workshops and seminars were evaluated by standard questionnaires. All received over 6.0 on a 7.0 Likert scale for usefulness of the material, value, and ability to use to enhance teaching among other variables. Professional development for graduate and postdoctoral fellows included teaching and mentoring philosophy statements and job application materials and processes. Nearly all participants rated the professional development components at the highest levels.