CBE—Life Sciences Education (LSE) is well established as a venue for basic research on biology teaching and learning and evaluation studies of innovations in biology education. As LSE enters its 15th year, the Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board, and staff are focusing on expanding the journal’s reach by seeking new audiences and making its content more useful and accessible. Other efforts now underway include assessing the impact of publishing in LSE on the careers of authors and preparing a special issue.
Articles and essays published in LSE have described or cited the guiding principles for teaching that promotes learning. One of LSE’s roles since its inception has been to show educators how to put into practice what is known from research on teaching and learning. The principles of good teaching highlighted in the journal are broadly applicable, and LSE papers could be of benefit to the wide audience of professionals who teach in the life sciences. To reach that audience ASCB is working with a consultant to design a marketing strategy specifically directed at bringing the journal to the attention of educators in fields such as plant biology/botany, genetics, ecology, evolution, genomics/bioinformatics, and molecular biology.
To make LSE more useful for new readers and potential authors, the Editorial Board is developing two “self-guided tours” of journal content. The first is for biologists who are new to biology education scholarship and interested in applying it to improve their teaching. The second tour is for biologists who are interested in studying biology teaching and learning. As part of this project, several Editorial Board members have been preparing annotated versions of selected LSE articles, and these will be available in 2016.
It is important that scholars who contribute to the understanding and improvement of biology education be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Obtaining such recognition is sometimes challenging in environments where traditional scientific research has been more highly valued than teaching. To understand the role that publishing in LSE plays in the recognition, reward, and overall career trajectories of authors, ASCB engaged an external evaluator to interview selected LSE authors and develop an author survey, which will be deployed in 2016.
LSE will publish a special issue on Broadening Participation in the Life Sciences late in 2016. Pat Marsteller and Kenneth (Kenny) Gibbs are serving as Guest Editors. The issue has generated a lot of enthusiasm, and we look forward to the journal’s contribution on this important topic.
LSE will continue to embrace its role in translating what is known about teaching and learning so that it can both inform our work and serve a broader audience of biology educators. And the journal is prepared to lead the way as biology education research enters a new phase and moves beyond exploring what works in education to exploring how and why these approaches work.
About the Author:
Mark Leader is ASCB's Director of Publications.