Jan-Feb 2014 ASCB Newsletter - page 18-19

University. He recommends that instructors:
Set the tone for the class
Create an interactive environment
Create a high-end activity
Collie sets the tone in his cell biology courses
on the first day with the video
The Inner Life of
the Cell
. He creates an interactive environment
by using a team-based learning strategy in which
team projects are used to promote student
learning and reading beyond the textbook.
In addition to team-based assignments, some
techniques Collie uses to engage students
include assigning poster presentations, using
warm-up exercises to encourage students to
review material in upcoming lectures, and using
clickers to encourage student participation in
answering in-class multiple-choice questions.
The session was electric. In his presentation,
Collie employed some of the key ideas he was
describing, and audience members were very
involved and asked questions throughout
the session. It was evident to all that Collie is
passionate about teaching.
—Tracie Gibson, University of Texas of the
Permian Basin
ASCB Commends Undergraduate
Poster Competition Winners
By all accounts, it was another successful poster
competition for undergraduate students want-
ing to practice discussing their research be-
fore the main event in the Exhibit Hall. The
Undergraduate Poster Competition was orga-
nized by the ASCB Education Committee and
Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC).
Congratulations to this year’s undergraduate
winners: Yvess Adamian, California State
University, Northridge (first place, $500);
Brianne Pierce, Kansas State University (second
place, $300); Brianna Manes, Pepperdine
University (tie for third place, $50); Phil
Nguyen, Lafayette College (tie third place,
$50); and Yoo Jung Kim , Dartmouth College
(fourth place; no photo available). Please see
page 33 for winners of the MAC prizes.
Thanks to all who participated, especially to
those who volunteered to be judges.
—Thea Clarke
Ramos Urges Undergraduates to
Become “Producers of Knowledge”
Daniel Colón Ramos, associate professor of cell
biology at the Yale School of Medicine, started
the Undergraduate Program by introducing the
young scientists in the room to three scientists
who he helped to create. These are not his
graduate students; they are his three-year-old
triplets. He used his daughters’ endless capacity
for exploration to illustrate that we are all born
What we as scientists learn about the
natural world is broadly applicable outside the
context in which it was discovered. When we
Daniel Colón Ramos at the Undergraduate Program
2013 Undergraduate Poster Winners
Phil Nguyen
Brianne Pierce
Brianna Manes
Yvess Adamian
of these small-group discussions continued
the conversation initiated by the panel
regarding educational outreach/service
learning and successful use of Web resources
and interactive technology. Others explored
creative, interdisciplinary non-major and
“gateway” courses, promoting active learning
using either the flipped classroom or case
study approach, and ideas for low-budget
investigative labs.
Workshop attendees included high
school teachers, undergraduate and graduate
students, postdocs, and undergraduate
educators. Participants and organizers
engaged in a very fruitful exchange of ideas,
and most left inspired to put those ideas to
practical use in their own teaching. In sum,
the Foundational Cell Biology Workshop
made a successful debut.
—Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier, Worcester State
Education Initiative Forum:
Teaching How Scientists Think
What kinds of decisions do scientists have
to make when solving research problems?
How do they prioritize which tests to run
or experiments to do in view of how much
those tests cost or how long it takes to do a
particular experiment? When does it become
necessary to call upon experts in other fields
to provide information and insights from
another angle? What do scientists do when
the evidence is conflicting or seems to violate
current thinking in the field? In his Education
Initiative Forum, Justin Hines of Lafayette
College outlined the case study he developed
for undergraduate students to simulate
scientific inquiry, and he shared the results of
its use in seven courses across several areas of
biology in several schools.
The exercise—An Inexplicable Disease:
Prion Disease as a “Choose-Your-Own-
Experiment” Case to Introduce Students to
Scientific Inquiry—is based on the experiences
of the initial investigators of the kuru epidemic
of Papua New Guinea in 1957. Even if some
participants already know that this is a story
about prions, students very much enjoy
grappling with the puzzling evidence and facing
the constraints under which the scientists were
working. In addition, the activity improves their
objective attitudes toward biology as determined
by a 10-question modified CLASS-Bio survey
students took immediately before and following
the activity. Taking about 75 minutes of class
time, this activity works in large lecture halls as
well as in smaller settings.
—Sue Wick, University of Minnesota–Twin
Education Initiative Forum:
Retaining Students
What do you do when you are dissatisfied
with student learning? Nathan Collie of
Texas Tech University challenged Education
Initiative Forum attendees to think about that
question. In his presentation entitled “Engaging
and Retaining Upper Division STEM
Undergraduates in Large Cell Biology Classes,”
he presented concrete ideas about how to deal
with a question many biology educators ponder.
Collie described approaches he developed
to address differences in the success rate in the
cell biology course between transfer students
and students matriculating through Texas Tech
Justin Hines with Education Committee Chair Sue Wick
Nathan Collie at the Education Initiative Forum
Presenters at
the Education
Omar Quintero,
University of Richmond
Tony Koleske, Yale
Benjamin L. Clarke,
University of
Minnesota Duluth
Medical School
April Hill, University of
Zakiya Wilson, North
Carolina A&T State
Saundra McGuire,
Louisiana State
B. Booth Quimby,
University of Maryland
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