Undergraduate Teaching Experience in Biology

 

What is undergraduate teaching?

For many years in the department of Biological Sciences, motivated undergraduates have been given the opportunity to assist in the teaching of laboratory sections. In recent years the scope of this activity has been broadened to include peer tutors in courses with Problem Based Learning components. The student begins as an assistant to a more experienced student, usually a graduate student. Responsibilities may include laboratory preparation, assistance in the grading of quizzes and reports and the guiding of students in exercises and discussions. As the term progresses, the student usually assumes more responsibility as appropriate.

What are the benefits of undergraduate teaching?

Undergraduate instruction allows students to learn first hand what teaching is like while also providing valuable experience of a type that very few students get to have. The chance to provide this kind of help is very rewarding and can help a great deal in developing self-confidence. This leadership experience also makes an important addition to resumes and applications for employment and professional schools after graduation.

How does a student get involved?

Students can participate in undergraduate teaching in two different ways. The first is by enrollment in BISC 422, Teaching Experience, which is a two-credit course that may be taken one time. In addition, students who have successfully completed a semester of BISC 422 may be able to receive pay for teaching. Department policy is firm that students must have been enrolled in BISC 422 before being eligible for pay. Those interested must complete this teaching experience application form online.

Dates to Remember

  • Applications for 2017/2018 are now available.
  • Students cannot register for BISC 422. We will register students after their application is approved and  a lab placement for teaching experience is confirmed.

Guidelines for selection of undergraduate students for teaching experience

  1. Participation will normally be limited to students with at least junior standing. Exceptions for students who are sophomores can be made in unusual circumstances.
  2. A student must have taken the course which he or she would teach. A grade of B or better must have been earned. Students who wish to teach BISC 104 must have completed either BISC 207 or BISC 208 with a grade of B or better.
  3. All students accepted for undergraduate teaching must have a GPA of at least 3.00 in Biology courses and a 2.75 GPA overall.
  4. Students who wish to teach in a specific course are encouraged to speak with the professor in charge of that course. The Undergraduate Program Director will examine the student's record for the above criteria. A student whose record is satisfactory will be referred to appropriate faculty members for placement into specific lab sections.
  5. These decisions are made in the week or so before the semester of teaching begins. It is not possible to make assignments earlier than that.