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
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 2020/2021 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
Participation will normally be limited to students with at least
junior standing. Exceptions for students who are sophomores can be made
in unusual circumstances.
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.
All students accepted for undergraduate teaching must have a GPA of at least 3.00 in Biology courses and a 2.75 GPA overall.
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.
These decisions are made in the week or so before the semester of
teaching begins. It is not possible to make assignments earlier than