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January 2018 Newsletter


January 17, 2018

In This Month's Edition:

2018 Spring STiP Webinar Series

The SI community has voted for the spring 2018 webinar topics!
The top 5 STiP Webinar Series Topics are...

Working with Underprepared Students

Strategies to prepare new students for success in freshman-level courses and to increase student success in advanced courses.

Inclusive Teaching Techniques & Strategies

Continued conversations from our previous webinar on inclusive teaching and brainstorming about how to implement inclusive teaching techniques in the classroom with specific examples from participants and facilitators.

5-Minute Teaching Ideas

Short activities that can be quickly implemented in the classroom without much overhead.

Active Learning Strategies & Challenges

Measuring the effectiveness of active learning activities through test/exam design, new active learning techniques and activities, implementing active learning in online classes and assessing the improvement of student soft skills.

Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)

Applications and examples of CURE-based learning environments for both majors and non-majors.

The spring 2018 STiP Webinar schedule is coming soon!

January STiP Webinar

Working with Underprepared Students (Featuring Karin Gosselink)
Friday, January 26, 2018 3-4 PM Eastern Time (12-1 PM Pacific Time)

Zoom Link to Join:

College students come from many different backgrounds with varying levels of scientific and general academic experience. How do we assess our students’ readiness to engage in scientific coursework? How can we construct inclusive classes that are designed for students with different levels of experience? What supports can we provide for our students so they can succeed in the classroom and in the laboratory? In this kickoff to the 2018 Scientific Teaching in Practice webinar series, Karin Gosselink, Director of the Academic Strategies Program and Associate Director of Writing & Tutoring at the Yale University Center for Teaching and Learning, will present strategies and facilitate discussion on working with underprepared students in first year courses and increasing student success in more advanced courses. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences, resources and ideas for working with underprepared students. Please join us for this interactive and engaging discussion.

Dr. Karin Gosselink is an Associate Director of Writing & Tutoring at the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning. She has worked with first-generation, low-income, multi-lingual and non-traditional students as a writing center administrator and instructor at the Univ. of Illinois—Chicago, Rutgers, and Yale. She established the Academic Strategies Program, a peer-based mentoring program that offers workshops and 1-1 consultations to help undergraduates develop effective mindsets and approaches to their academic work. 

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Webinar Series Overview

The Scientific Teaching in Practice Webinar Series extends the learning and dialogue that occurs at the Summer Institutes into a year-round community that supports and inspires evidence-based teaching. Each month, the SI community is invited to attend an interactive webinar related to the practice and/or dissemination of scientific teaching. The webinar will be facilitated by someone experienced in that area, integrating significant time for questions and open discussion. Webinars are open to SI alums as well as those generally interested in scientific teaching and evidence-based teaching strategies. ​

For more information on upcoming webinars or access to previous webinar materials, visit our Webinar Series page. 

Research in Focus

"Exams Disadvantage Women in Introductory Biology"

A new study, co-led by postdoctoral associate and SI alumna Cissy Ballen at the University of Minnesota and Shima Salehi at Stanford University, found that unexpected influences underlie gender gaps in exam performance across ten large introductory biology course sections. For female students only, test anxiety negatively affected exam performance, while interest in the course-specific science topics increased exam performance (see Figure below). The findings challenge traditional approaches that evaluate student knowledge, particularly those that punish students who do poorly on high-stakes assessments that may not be relevant to actual professional skills. While the focus of the paper is on gender, similar phenomena may impact the experiences of underrepresented minority students, first-generation college students, and other students more susceptible to test anxiety in high-stakes exam environments. To create more equitable classrooms, the authors suggest applying strategies that promote science interest and lessen the negative effects of test anxiety by offering a diversity of assessment types in STEM courses. Future research will test the effects of lowering the stakes of the exams through retake opportunities and changes in the grading schemes to de-emphasize their importance for student grades.

Ballen CJ, Salehi S, Cotner S (2017) Exams disadvantage women in introductory biology. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0186419.
Adapted from Figure 2, Ballen, Salehi and Cotner (2017):  Partial mediation analyses show differences in the significant effects of incoming preparation (ACT) on exam grades for (A) female and (B) male students. Blue dashed arrows depict negative effects and green arrows show positive effects. ACT has direct, positive effects on exam grades for all students. For female students, ACT does not influence affective measures such as science interest and test anxiety, but these affective measures influence exam grades. For male students, ACT negatively affects test anxiety, but test anxiety does not in turn influence exam grades. 
Cissy Ballen is a postdoctoral associate in undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota's Department of Biology Teaching and Learning in Sehoya Cotner's lab. Her research focuses on promoting scientific teaching, enhancing diversity at the undergraduate level and reducing the attrition of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

SI Community Resources & Announcements


Institutional Change

Have you or your colleague(s) initiated change within your department or home institution as a direct result of scientific teaching principles and the Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching? Please share the experience here so the SI community can learn about how this institutional change was achieved.

Teachable Tidbits

Did you know we have short "teachable tidbit" lessons available from many SI alum on our website? Check them out here.

Share Your SI Related Publications

Have you or your colleagues published research regarding the Summer Institutes and/or the use and dissemination of scientific teaching practices? Share your work with the entire SI community on the new SI publications page.



Do you have an announcement for the SI community? Share your announcements on the SI newsletter page.

UBER REU at University of Georgia

Dear fellow Summer Institutes alumni,

Happy New Year!  We are excited to announce the fifth year of our Undergraduate Biology Education Research (UBER) REU Site at University of Georgia.  UBER is a nine-week, NSF-funded program to involve undergraduates in designing and conducting research on biology teaching and learning with mentorship from faculty in UGA’s Division of Biological Sciences and College of Education.
Details can be found at our website:
Download the program filer here.
Program dates: May 21 – July 21, 2018
Students will be paid a stipend of $4500 and receive a $750 food stipend
Housing will be provided in UGA dormitories at no cost
Travel assistance to UGA is available up to $500 per student
Application deadline: February 19, 2018

We would be grateful for your help in encouraging your students to apply.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
Best wishes,
Julie Stanton
Julie Dangremond Stanton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Director
Undergraduate Biology Education REU
Department of Cellular Biology
627 Biological Sciences Building
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-2607
(706) 542-2978

STEM Education Job Opportunities


New Job Postings
Undergraduate Instructional Design Manager- Harvard University LabX
Curriculum Fellow, Quantitative Biomedical Training - Harvard Medical School
Post-doctoral Curriculum Fellow - Harvard Medical School

Administrative Coordinator - Harvard University LabX
Teaching Assistant Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology - East Carolina University
Director, Endeavor Center for Faculty Development - Rollins College
Undergraduate Instructor, Physiology - University of Oregon
Microbiologist - James Madison University
Head of Department, Biological Sciences - Purdue University
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Biology and Ecology - The University of Maine
Director of Science Learning Laboratory - University of Delaware 
Full-time Lecturers in Biology - University of Pittsburgh
Lecturer in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology - University of Georgia
Faculty Position in Astroparticle Physics - University of Delaware
Collegiate Assistant Professor, Biochemistry - Virginia Tech
Faculty Position in Biology - University of Massachusetts Amherst
Director, Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories - University of Delaware
Post-doctoral assistant in science education research - University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Preceptor, Science Education (Biology or Chemistry) - University of Delaware
Assistant Professors, Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences - University of Florida
And more...

Did you know that we post job opportunities submitted to us on the SI website? Share a job posting or view additional postings on the Summer Institutes "Job Postings" page


Questions about the Summer Institutes or suggestions for this newsletter?

Please contact the Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching Program Director: 
Dr. Elizabeth Luoma (
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