Teaching

A philosophy of teaching

The ultimate goal of teaching at the university level is two-fold: to provide students with a basic knowledge of core material and, more importantly, to teach students the necessary skills to evaluate evidence, to analyze ideas and hypotheses critically, and to continue a lifetime of knowledge acquisition and learning. The best teachers encourage students to ask questions and pursue an investigation in order to learn to answer their own questions. When taught and encouraged to pursue inquiry beyond the course material, students will gain the ability to apply that skill beyond the artificial bounds of the current course and allow them to extend their capabilities to the synthesis and analysys of information on any subject and in any situation.


Courses Developed and Taught


University of Richmond

First Year Seminar – Well-behaved women rarely make scientific history

This FYS is designed to develop analytical and critical thinking skills, proficiency in expressing opinions and ideas, and ability to distinguish cause and correlation, in a setting that focuses on the history of women in science.

We explore a number of questions, including:

  • What has been the setting of women who have succeeded in science historically?
  • Does the American educational system adequately prepare girls to succeed in science?
  • Who are role models for the next generation of women scientists? (We will meet some of them!)
  • How does the media portray women scientists?

These issues, themselves, are complex. Different studies present differing assumptions and results, as well as conflicting interpretations. Substantial differences of opinion exist, both in the scientific literature and in the public media. In this course we explore and grapple with these issues, both orally and in writing. Class readings and discussions, taken from the scientific literature and from the media, focus on the problem of gender disparity in science and technology, whether there is scientific evidence for innate differences in science and math proficiency between men and women, and whether institutional biases against women in science and math fields exist. We read about and explore the scientific accomplishments of some notable women, as well as their lifestyle or institutional settings that allowed them to succeed.


Wake Forest University

Introductory Physics

Introductory, calculus-based physics (introduced interactive lecture demonstration method to teaching this course)

Physics of Biological Macromolecules

Junior/senior/intro graduate level course; lectures alternate between basic physical principles and application to protein structure; reading of important papers in the field

Computational Biophysics Laboratory

Junior/senior/intro graduate level course; students perform specific biophysical calculations on a selected protein, analyze the results and write a research paper

Bioinformatics

Junior/senior/intro graduate level course; lectures, laboratory and programming exercises; innovative curriculum involves communication between disciplines and project-based learning

Computational Systems Biology

Junior/senior/intro graduate level course; lectures, laboratory and programming exercises; innovative curriculum involves communication between disciplines and project-based learning

Undergraduate Research

Independent study with individual students; requires group meeting presentations, research, and writing

University at Albany

Biochemistry

Junior/senior level course required for biology and biochemistry majors; developed and taught lectures and study sets (200-300 students/semester)

Protein Structure and Function

Graduate level course; developed and taught lectures, discussion, laboratories (5-10 students/year)

Freshman Biology

Freshman course required for biology and biochemistry majors; developed lectures and two laboratory sections (400-500 students/year)

Biology and Society

Freshman seminar program; developed and co-taught with Professor of Philosophy (15 freshman/year)

Writing Intensive Course in Biology

One credit students could add to any other course; required one-on-one interaction with student and direction of writing of major research paper

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students participate in laboratory research under direction of principle investigator; oversaw research of approximately 20 undergraduates, three of whom won the Glenn Bumpus Award (highest honors for undergraduate research) and seven of whom are co-authors on scientific publications