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Introduction to Undergraduate Science Teaching

Tri-Institutional Partners

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 3:30 PM - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM (EDT)

Introduction to Undergraduate Science Teaching

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Event Details

Are you interested in improving your teaching skills? Do you want to engage your students? Then apply for the Introduction to Effective Undergraduate Science Teaching Course. 

One factor contributing to low retention of students who pursue degrees in STEM is poor undergraduate teaching. Most faculty use passive lecture-styled teaching that fails to engage undergraduate students. Therefore, prominent organizations such as HHMI, the White House Office of Science and Technology, and the National Academies of Sciences have called for research institutions to provide future faculty with opportunities to improve their teaching skills.

Because the Tri-I institutions are not affiliated with undergraduate colleges, it is difficult for students and postdocs to gain teaching experience. Therefore, we will offer a short course on effective science teaching. This course will allow candidates to demonstrate an interest in teaching when applying for positions. Even if participants decide not to pursue a career that includes a teaching component, understanding good teaching practices will help them improve their overall science communication skills, which is essential for all career paths.

Course Goals

At the end of the class, participants should be able to:

1.Understand how students learn

2.Understand the differences between active and passive learning

3.Develop at least one way to teach a lesson via active learning

4.Improve science communication skills

5.Create course objectives and outline expectations for their students

6.Identify alternatives to straight lecturing

7.Understand ways of evaluating student learning

8.Compose a teaching statement and understand differences between a philosophy and statement

9.Understand the application process for jobs at Undergraduate Colleges

Time Commitment

  • 8 Classes over 10 Weeks

  • Each class will start at 3:30 PM and last for 1 to 1 ½ hours

  • There will be two assignments, which will require an additional 4 to 5 hours of work.


Course Schedule 






Oct. 4

3:30 PM

Rethinking the way we teach science


Oct. 10

3:00 PM

How students learn


Oct. 18

3:00 PM

Engaging and captivating your students


Oct. 25

3:30 PM

Active learning Ideas


Nov. 8

3:30 PM

Evaluating Your Teaching


Nov. 15

3:30 PM

Setting goals and expectations


Nov. 29

3:30 PM

Teaching statements/job application material – Video Lessons Due


Dec. 13

3:30 PM

Critique of Group Lessons and Reception 



Rethinking The Way We Teach – October 4

During this class we will rethink the way in which science is taught. How Students Learn – October 13

How Students Learn – October 13 

During this interactive seminar, participants will learn different ways that undergraduate students and adults learn and how teachers should adapt their teaching methods to accommodate these learning styles.

Engaging Your Students  – October 18

During this workshop you will learn effective strategies for keeping your students attention.

Active Learning  – October 25

During this workshop, participants will learn and discus effective strategies for engaging a classroom by using active and inquiry based learning.

Evaluating Your Teaching – November 8

This class will review how to measure whether our not students are achieving the course goals. We also review how to design test questions and assignments to measure students understanding of course material.

Setting Goals and Expectations – November 15

We will review how to set learning goals for courses. We will also review how to design a concise syllabus.  

Teaching Statements and Other Application Material – November 29

We will review how to prepare a powerful teaching statement and other application material needed for teaching positions in Academia.

Review of Lessons and Reception – December 13 


Intended Audience

30 students and postdocs who wish to improve their teaching skills.  We will accept 10 participants from each institution.


Andrea Morris, PhD – Rockefeller University

Thomas Magaldi, PhD – Memorial Sloan Kettering

Marcus Lambert, PhD – Weill Cornell Medicine

Jeanne Garbarino, PhD – Rockefeller University

Disan Davis, PhD – Rockefeller University

Ruth Gotian, EdD – Weill Cornell Medicine

Barbara Houtz – STEM Education Solutions 

Course Registration 

Students and postdocs must apply to take this course. Applicants will be asked the following questions:

  • Why do they wish to take this course?

  • How many years have they been at their respective institutions?

  • Do they have an interest in teaching science after their training?

  • Can they commit to attending at least 7 of the 8 classes?

  • Please describe any previous teaching experience you have.

If there is more demand for the course than we can accommodate, preference will be given to more senior applicants who are interested in a career in teaching. Remaining applicants will be placed on a waiting list and will receive priority registration during the next class.


Permission from Principal Investigator

All students and postdocs must notify their PIs that they will attend this course. They must also agree to conduct assignments on their own time. You DO NOT need to notify your PI until you have been accepted into the course. 


The course will be hosted at Rockefeller University

Certificate of Completion

A certificate of completion will be awarded to all participants who complete all of the assignments and attend at least 7 of the 8 classes. 


Have questions about Introduction to Undergraduate Science Teaching? Contact Tri-Institutional Partners

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When & Where

Rockefeller University
1230 York Ave.
New York, NY 10065

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 3:30 PM - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM (EDT)

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Introduction to Undergraduate Science Teaching
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