2016-2017 SEMINARS

The STEM Active Learning Seminar (STEM- ALS) aims to cultivate a community of scientist-teachers and STEM educators at UCSC. Seminar speakers will have the opportunity to share their in-class experiments, insights, accomplishments, and challenges teaching STEM classes emphasizing scientifically-based teaching techniques. STEM-ALS is sponsored by the Division of Physical & Biological Sciences, the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators and a new grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which combined with UCSC campus funding, is revising introductory STEM courses at UCSC.

In addition, we would like to encourage announcements related to new grants, proposals, projects, or interests surrounding active learning practices before the seminar. Those wanting to make an announcement should make contact at least one day before the scheduled talk and plan for a 2-3 minute announcement with no more than one slide.

If you would like to present, please contact our organizers, Susy Honig (shonig@ucsc.edu), Colin West (cowest@ucsc.edu) and Gabe Mednick (gmednick@ucsc.edu).

Second Thursday of each month, 12:00-1:00 PM (bring your lunch!)



2016-2017 SEMINARS


Thursday
Oct 13th

Biomed 300

Lessons from a successful flip with Robin Dunkin

Host: Susy Honig

Description: Robin will discuss the process and planning that went into flipping bio 20B, specific examples of activities, how the teaching team addressed equity and inclusion, and what what lessons the teaching team learned about what worked and what didn't work. Robin will also discuss how the activities and particular elements from the active learning version are being reincorporated into the large lecture course.

Robin's bio: Robin Dunkin did her undergraduate work at UCSC in marine biology and then completed a master’s degree in Biology at the University of California at Wilmington where she studied thermoregulation and energetics in bottlenose dolphins. Robin returned to UCSC to complete her Ph.D. with Dr. Terrie Williams where she ventured onto land and applied her interest in thermoregulation and physiological ecology to African and Asian elephants. Her work focused on developing population level models predicting the movement patterns of these large animals based on empirically measured physiological data. Robin then began an Office of Naval Research funded postdoctoral fellowship through NOAA which aimed at understanding the energetic consequences of increasing anthropogenic sound in the oceans. Robin also runs the Marine Mammal Stranding Program at Long Marine Lab. Since 2012, Robin has been a lecturer in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department where she has taught the introductory physiology and development of plants and animals course for majors. Robin is keenly committed to teaching and most recently has been working with the HHMI team at UCSC to redesign the introductory STEM courses for majors using evidence based teaching methods.

 Robin Dunkin
Thursday
November 10th

Biomed 300

Engaging, Luring, and Immersing Undergraduates in the Biological Sciences with Professor Rolf Christoffersen (UCSB)

Host: Susy Honig

Description: My presentation will describe the multifaceted approach that we have taken to implement Vision and Change in our department since 2010. First, we developed course-based authentic research experiences for students at different stages of the major including: a freshmen research course focused on DNA barcoding and antibiotic producing microorganisms; a module in our introductory biology laboratory course that consists of an RNAi screen to identify genes involved in chemosensory perception in C. elegans; an intensive summer research course for undergraduates and taught by postdoctoral scholars. Second, we have encouraged the formation of student learning communities with a near-peer mentoring program to support students enrolled in a large introductory biology lecture course. Third, we are offering a parallel version of our traditional introductory biology lecture course that focuses on a student-centered learning approach with the goal of determining whether this intervention impacts retention and performance in our major through graduation.

Rolf's bio: I have been a faculty member of the MCD Biology department at UC Santa Barbara since 1985 with my primary teaching assignment in the area of eukaryotic genetics at both the introductory and upper division levels. I have a long-standing interest in the use of instructional technology to improve student experiences in my large lecture courses. In addition, as co-director of two HHMI-funded undergraduate science education projects, I have been part of a team of UCSB science educators that are dedicated to improving outcomes for all our undergraduate students including those from groups that are at high risk of leaving STEM majors.

 Rolf Christoffersen
Thursday
December 8th

Biomed 300

Research Deconstruction: Building Knowledge and Self-Efficacy by Demystifying Sophisticated Science with Professor Grant Hartzog

Host: Professor Manny Ares

Description: I will discuss Biol88: Research Deconstruction, MCD Biology, which was taught for the first time last year. This course aims to provide beginning undergraduates with the tools and self-confidence necessary to succeed in both their course work and the lab by “deconstructing” a sophisticated research seminar. I will describe the course’s structure, successes and failures in its first offering and my plans for the future.

Grant’s Bio: I have been a member of the MCD Biology department since 1998. Prior to joining UCSC, I was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and a Graduate student at UCSF. In addition to my research program in chromatin and transcription, I have taught many different courses over the years. I was introduced to the concepts of active learning through two experiences at UCSC: participation in the PDP program, and along with Manny Ares, teaching an HHMI sponsored lab course in which students are introduced to molecular biology by participation in an authentic research project. Since these experiences, I have incorporated active learning principles into my lecture and lab courses. The class I will discuss in this seminar represents my latest experiment in encouraging students to become active participants in their education.

 Grant Hartzog
Thursday
January 12th

Biomed 300

12:00-1:00

The natural history of UCSC life sciences majors with Professor John Tamkun

Host: Professor Manny Ares

Description: I will present the results of a longitudinal study for a large cohort of undergraduates interested in the life sciences who entered UCSC as freshmen in the fall of 2012. I will describe the academic challenges faced by these students, including factors affecting their retention and timely graduation, with a focus on traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields. Approaches for identifying and assisting at-risk students in a large introductory biology course will also be discussed.

Bio: I joined the Department of MCD Biology at UCSC in 1989 after completing my graduate and postdoctoral training at MIT and the University of Colorado, Boulder. For the past twenty-five years, my research has been focused on the role of chromatin structure in eukaryotic gene expression and epigenetic inheritance. I have taught Biology 20A, a large introductory biology course, since 1996. I became interested in educational policy and academic data analysis while serving as the chair of my department and the UCSC Academic Senate Committees on Admissions and Financial Aid and Educational Policy.

John Tamkun
Thursday
February 9th

Biomed 300

Engaging Students in General and Organic Chemistry Courses: Authentic Practice in Laboratory Courses, Near Peer Instruction, and Active Engagement in Large Organic Lectures with Professor Anne Baranger

Host: Gabe Mednick

Description: In this presentation, I will discuss our efforts to engage students in the general chemistry laboratory curriculum by designing a curriculum that focuses on authentic practice of green chemistry and is supported by a large learning assistant program. I will also discuss active learning methods in our large organic lectures. In particular, I will focus on my efforts to engage students actively in the first semester of organic chemistry for majors.

Bio: Anne Baranger received her B.S. in chemistry from MIT, her Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Professor Baranger has been a member of the chemistry faculty at Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois. She joined UC Berkeley in 2011 where she is Director of Undergraduate Chemistry and Faculty Assistant for Teaching and Learning for the Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education. Her research focuses on investigating student learning in undergraduate research experiences, understanding near peer teaching and learning, developing interventions to improve problem solving by organic students, and creating curricula to teach the authentic practice of green chemistry to general chemistry students.

Anne Baranger
Thursday
March 9th

Biomed 300

You Matter, You Belong: Closing the Achievement Gap

with Pat James (California Community Colleges) and Francine Van Meter (Cabrillo College)

Host: Gabe Mednick

Description: Our most vulnerable students are often first generation college students, from low income families, and are students of color. This seminar focuses on educational technology efforts both statewide and locally to engage our high-risk students in academic life through technology-enabled solutions. Connecting to students’ emotional, social, and cultural life helps them build confidence, and overcome challenges they face.

Pat James' Bio: A California Community College (CCC) distance education leader for over a decade, Pat James is dedicated to increasing student success through high quality online learning. She just retired in January from the position of Executive Director of the California Community Colleges’ Online Education Initiative (OEI), a 70 million dollar Distance Education project funded by the California legislature. In 2016, she received the Frank Mayadas Award, a national award from the Online Learning Consortium. Pat has been both a teacher and an administrator for Mt. San Jacinto College, where she led the MSJC Basic Skills Initiative, Learning Center, Libraries and Distance Education. She co-directed the state @ONE professional development project, served on system advisory committees, and taught online educators through the @ONE certification program. Pat is proud to have graduated with an AA Degree from Canada College, and a BA in Psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz, then completing a Masters Degree from Capella University in Instructional Design for Online Learning.



Francine Van Meter's Bio: As Coordinator for Cabrillo’s Title V Grant, Closing the Completion Gap, Francine Van Meter is currently working to provide individualized, technology-powered student support so that high-need students stay on degree transfer track, and design transfer courses as active/collaborative/technology-enabled, with a hybrid online component to reduce seat time and promote academic success and timely completion. Francine graduated from Cabrillo College (Dental Hygiene), UCSC (Biology), and SJSU (MA, Instructional Technology). She’s been a faculty member at Cabrillo since 1993 and directed the Teaching & Learning Center most of her career. She continues to be involved statewide with distance education through the OEI.





Pat_James
Francene_Meter

Thursday
April 13th

Biomed 300

3:00-4:00

Taking a scholarly route to institutional change: Theory, practice and tools to support educational transformation in STEM with Professor Noah Finkelstein (University of Colorado Boulder, Department of physics)

Host: Colin West

Description: Despite numerous calls for the transformation of undergraduate education, there is still a lack of successful models for creating large-scale, systemic cultural changes at our institutions. To date, change efforts have generally only focused on one of three scales: disseminating curricula and pedagogy, developing reflective teachers, or enacting institutional policy. These efforts illustrate many of the challenges of institutional change; in particular, they highlight the need for a holistic approach that integrates across multiple institutional levels: individual faculty, whole departments, and university policymakers. I present current work on models of change, some of our action-research projects that are approaches to change, and new research-based tools to support our change efforts. In particular, I look forward to interactive discussions around an effort to enact a Teaching Quality Framework that outlines both a scholarly approach to evaluating our education practices and a process for enacting such a tool.

Bio: Noah Finkelstein is a Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder and conducts research in physics education. He serves as a PI of the Physics Education Research (PER) group and is also a Director for the Center for STEM Learning on campus, which has become one of eight national demonstration sites for the Association of American Universities’ (AAU) STEM Education Initiative. He serves as Co-Director of the national Network of STEM Education Centers. Finkelstein’s research focuses on studying the conditions that support students’ interest and ability in physics – developing models of context. These research projects range from the specifics of student learning particular concepts, to the departmental and institutional scales of sustainable educational transformation. This research has resulted in over 120 publications. He is increasingly involved in education policy. In 2010, he testified before the US Congress on the state of STEM education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He serves on many national boards including chairing both the American Physical Society’s Committee on Education and PER Topical Group. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Higher Learning Commission, is a Technical Advisor to the AAU, and very involved in the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ efforts in STEM education. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and a Presidential Teaching Scholar and the inaugural Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador for the University of Colorado system.

Noah Finkelstein

Thursday
May 11th

Biomed 300

Host:

Description:

Bio:

Here is a link to last year's seminars:

  • SEMINARS
  • Anyone needing special arrangements to accommodate a disability should call 831-459-4986 two weeks prior to the date of the seminar they wish to attend.