My role in the Biology Program is to teach. This encompasses the many elements of teaching biology to undergraduate students; curriculum design and implementation, course administration and coordination, and graduate student preparation for teaching.
I primarily teach first year biology laboratories, but also lead field experiences and lecture in large classes. I endeavour to incorporate pedagogical best practices into my teaching, which I believe are particularly important at the first year level. Experiential learning is fundamental to my teaching philosophy and I believe authentic inquiry and field experiences are among the most effective learning experiences. I strive to contextualize the course content so that it is relevant to students, emphasize concepts, structure lessons to enhance active learning, promote critical thinking and problem-solving, provide regular and timely feedback, and attempt to create a community of learning even in large classes. I hope that by laying a foundation of biological concepts students will relate these concepts to the world around them and apply the principles to societal issues.
I have adopted a scholarly approach to teaching and have initiated research projects to investigate elements of student learning. My research interests include the effectiveness of curriculum revisions and active-learning strategies on student attitudes and student adjustment to higher education. In conjunction with colleagues we have developed assessment tools designed to measure changes in student attitudes towards Biology as a Science and concept inventories to measure learning gains in fundamental concepts (Questions for Biology Q4B http://q4b.biology.ubc.ca/). The results of these investigations have been shared at conferences, Teaching and Learning meetings and are at various stages of publication.
Professional development opportunities such as the Faculty Certificate Program, CTLT workshops, Communities of Practice and teaching-related conferences have informed my teaching practice. To better prepare graduate student Teaching Assistants (TA) I along with colleagues have developed a series of instructions workshops (BioTAP http://wiki.ubc.ca/TA_training/Overview/Biology). For those graduate students that wish to further study pedagogy in higher education we offer a course in Teaching & Learning in the Life Sciences.
All of these efforts are a reflection of my commitment to improving the educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students.
Recent Courses Taught:
Biol 111 – Introduction to Modern Biology (large lecture course, ~ 220 students, primarily for non-majors)
Biol 121 – Genetics, Evolution and Ecology (large lecture course, ~220 students, for majors)
Biol 140 – Laboratory Investigation in Biology (T1 Course Coordinator, T1 ~600 students, T2 ~960 students)
Biol 535 – Teaching & Learning in the Life Sciences