Programs at the Annual Meeting & Travel Award Review

Programs at the Annual Meeting are a primary way of bringing education topics and initiatives to the ASCB membership. The travel awards administered by the committee allow many more graduate students, postdocs, undergrad students, and junior faculty to attend than would otherwise be able to.

Numerous members of the Education Committee (EdComm) are involved in planning programs, sometimes cooperatively with WICB and MAC, and in introducing and sometimes presenting the sessions. All members and associates on the committee review travel awards in September.

Programs at the Annual Meeting organized by the Education Committee:

  • Undergraduate Program
  • Undergraduate poster presentations and competition (co-organized with MAC)
  • High School Program
  • Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education
  • Foundational Cell Biology Workshop
  • Education Minisymposium
  • Education Initiative Forums, with speakers chosen from submitted education abstracts
  • Table Talks (and resources) at Roundtable Central

Participation in Vision & Change Activities

  • EdComm participates in HHMI-AAAS-NSF meetings (and other meetings) about science education when invited to do so.
  • The goal of Vision and Change is to promote effective change in undergraduate biology education. One particularly relevant recommendation from a 2013 meeting was that professional societies need to be more involved in promoting Vision and Change principles within their societies. Another was that professional societies should consider working together more to achieve undergraduate education reform. Currently, representatives from numerous life science professional societies share ideas and collaborate through the Professional Societies Alliance for Life Science Education (PSALSE).
  • In 2016 EdComm received an incubator grant called the PALM Network from NSF to fund approximately six mentors and mentees in active teaching/learning (in collaboration with the Genetics Society of America and the American Society of Plant Biologists).
  • EdComm is offering more informal mentor match-making for teaching improvement among ASCB members through the Mentoring in Active Learning and Teaching (MALT) program.

Newsletter Column

  • Volunteers from EdComm coordinate quarterly columns “Office Hours with EdComm” in the ASCB Newsletter. These columns bring questions about best teaching practices and instructional improvement to the ASCB community on a year-round basis and help provide a community of teaching support to ASCB members of all career stages. They bring questions about core concepts and competencies and about student-centered learning to the attention of the ASCB membership, and thus directly address the AAAS Vision and Change recommendations.

Participation in/Administration of Online CV Review for ASCB Members

  • Review of CV/resumes/cover letters for ASCB members, particularly students and postdocs, is filling an important need and is a useful benefit we provide electronically year-round.
  • EdComm member Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier is coordinating the matching of reviewers with members who want assistance with documents.

Mentoring in Active Learning and Teaching (MALT) Program

  • Getting the opportunity to develop and implement active learning techniques over a sustained period is essential for those who seek careers focused on teaching. These experiences can be hard to find at many institutions. The MALT program seeks to establish mentor-mentee relationships in which people at all career levels and institutional types can learn from experienced teachers how to develop effective and engaging teaching practices. As this mentor-mentee relationship develops, the MALT program offers funding to enable more formal onsite mentorship opportunities. It directly addresses the ASCB goals of improving education and promoting professional development. In line with the AAAS Vision and Change recommendations, it will help develop a community of support to educators.
  • Topics mentees might want to consider include how to effectively: increase student participation in your lab or discussion section (for TAs); flip your classroom for enhanced learning; use or develop case studies to deepen learning; write multiple-choice questions that require higher cognitive skills; write discussion-provoking clicker questions; get started in discipline-based education research; devise POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) exercises; make use of an active learning environment; establish students working groups/teams in the classroom; or use backward design; etc.

 Thinking Ahead

  • The committee plans to conduct outreach to community college instructors to determine how ASCB can help faculty to support and enhance high-quality cell biology education.