Balancing Act: Undergraduate Teaching, Research and Service

whipmellificiumBiotechnology

Feb 20, 2013 (4 years and 3 months ago)

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A 4
-
year College Professorship:

Striking a Balance between

Teaching and Research



Amy Cheng Vollmer

Professor of Biology

Swarthmore College

avollme1@swarthmore.edu

Overview

It’s not easier, it’s different

Diversity of institutions

You’re the only one

Teaching: What, how, to whom?

Research: How, what, when, when, why?

Promotion and tenure

Life lines: Mentoring and Networking

Resources and support

Jobs and Job Hunting

Balance

Faculty Position at a 4
-
year College


Compared with a university
professorship……



it’s not easier or harder, it’s different



You still have to be excellent:




to be hired




to be promoted


A 4
-
Year College Career:


It’s not easier, it’s different


“Advantage”




“Disadvantage”



family friendly



it’s harder to keep up

students move on



students move on

projects can be high risk


progress is slow

no huge grant needed


grants still needed

salary not from grant


no summer $ if no grant


University faculty want your students, but don’t


always respect your work in grant panels


Diversity of institutions:


Learn about the history, traditions, role in
the community and in higher education


Public vs private

Religious denomination vs non
-
sectarian

Liberal arts vs technical/vocational

Suburban vs rural vs urban

Residential vs commuter

Co
-
ed vs single sex


Teaching load: 4
-
6 courses per year

Involvement with the community/town

Outreach



You’re the only one




Biology department at Swarthmore


microbiologist


cell biologist


geneticist


animal developmental biologist


neurobiologist


animal behaviorist


vertebrate physiologist


invertebrate biomechanist


plant ecologist


plant evolutionary biologist


plant developmental biologist

General microbiology

Medical microbiology

Microbial ecology

Biotechnology

Industrial microbiology

Immune response

Virology

Symbiosis

Introductory microbiology


Bioethics

Astrobiology

“Why We Get Sick”


Teaching: What, how, to whom?

What
-

CURRICULAR NEEDS (ASM curriculum
guidelines)


microbiology, molecular biology, microbial genetics,



metabolism, microbial ecology, evolution



How
-

RESPOND TO DIFFERENT LEARNING STYLES


not just lecture: interactive, cooperative learning,
open
-
ended, problem
-
based, investigative


To whom
-

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!!!!


large/small classes


majors/non
-
majors


introductory/advanced


basic/applied



Syllabus, textbooks



Assignments, expectations



Lab manual, experiments



Lab preparation: media, reagents, strains



Assessment/Rubrics



Exams



Papers



Lab reports



Oral presentations


Decisions, decisions…….

How to gain teaching experience

• guest lecturing

• mentoring a research student

• teaching a course or lab

• planning a meeting/symposium

• designing a lab exercise

• filling in: a one
-
year position*

• sit in on good lectures
-

note what is good

• practice, practice, practice!!


Research:

How, what, when, where, why?

How
-


short projects, build in continuity




you must be in the lab

What

-

choice of system is key





what’s the burning question?

When
-

during the semester (part of a lab class)




during the summer

Where
-

on or off campus

Why
-

to keep your teaching relevant




to answer the burning question




to train students




to have fun

Recruiting students


introduce your system/questions in class


posters showing student work

Training students

How and why

Controls

Record keeping

Lab dynamics

Getting results


focus the project


Realistic expectations

Communicating results


weekly group meetings


public meetings

Funding


NIH AREA grants, NSF
-
RUIs, ASM
-
URFs, Merck
-
AAAS

Other Aspects of Research to Consider

Elsewhere

DuPont:

Construction of stress responsive strains

VA Tech:

Environmental levels of ammonia, phosphate


At Swarthmore

Chemistry:

Protein structure of genes of interest

Engineering: Does ultrasound induce bacterial stress?

Physics:

Do laser tweezers stress bacteria?

Ecology:

Do soil microbes account for success




of invasive maple species?

Animal behavior: Are bacterial responsible for




differential scent production on




birds during mating season?

Animal physiology: does fatty acid in diet affect





profile of gut microbiota?

My own collaborations in research:

Projects in my lab:

Basic microbiology

• role of
E. coli

usp

genes/proteins in stress response


genetics, physiology, biochemistry

• role of uspA biofilm formation

• alanine replacements of ser/thr in uspA (18 of them)

Applied Microbiology

• Use of stress responsive strains as biosensors for:


anti
-
oxidants (green tea)


environmental pollutants (ammonia, phosphate)

• Can luminous bacteria be used to report the


sterilization effects of ultrasound on bacteria in:


water, cider, biofilms

• Do laser tweezers generate oxidative or heat stress?

A suitable system for research


what is the burning question?


which model organism/system?


safety for students


economical


repeat rate


learning curve


maintenance


for what methods are you expert?


are there local collaborators?

Promotion and tenure

Spelled out in faculty handbook: rules of conduct, review criteria


Teaching
-

how is it measured?




how do you improve?

Research
-

does it count? What counts?




do expectations match support, facilities?




is there a ‘culture of research’ in the dept?




is it a requirement for students?

Service
-


committees




advising




specifics: radiation safety, animal care




professional activities







professional society





editorial service





peer review panels

Is it necessary to do a post
-
doc?

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*


momentum for research start up


networking


more experience as investigator


more techniques


more time to write
-

grants, papers


* For an institution like Swarthmore


Professional Life lines:

Mentoring


It’s like parenting


It’s like herding


It’s like housekeeping

You need to be a mentor

You need to seek mentors



Networking


since you’re the only one, you need to stay in the
loop


local colleagues


seminars at other campuses


guest lectures


conferences and meetings


LISTSERVES

Resources and Support

ASM Resources for teachers:



MicrobeLibrary

MicroWorld

Curriculum recommendations

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

Conference for Undergraduate Educators!!!!!


Just as you do in research:


consult literature for methods


attend meetings and conferences

Learn about pedagogy

Different styles of learning

Different ways to assess learning

How to mentor students


Literature

Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory Press



For the beginning



faculty member:


Start up


Setting up lab


Hiring/firing


Grant writing


A ‘methods’ manual


Many faculty have this



on their shelves


http://www.hhmi.org/grants/pdf/labmgmt/book.pdf

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Press (2005)

…about the challenges of doing
science and dealing with the
individuals involved, including
oneself. The authors, a
scientist and a psychotherapist,
draw on principles of group and
behavioral psychology but
speak to scientists in their own
language about their
experiences. They offer in
depth, practical advice, real
-
life
examples and exercises tailored
to scientific and technical
workplaces on topics as diverse
as conflict resolution,
negotiation, dealing with
supervision, working with
competing peers……

http://www.hhmi.org/grants/pdf/labmgmt/entering_mentoring.pdf

The Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning (SoTL)

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

Cell Biology Education

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Education

Journal of Chemical Education

Other journals published by:

National Association of Biology Teachers

National Association of Science Teaching

Association of Biology Laboratory
Educators

ASM.org
-

click on “education”


ASMCUE (conference for undergraduate
educators) precedes the annual general
meeting of the ASM



ASM Kadner summer institute

For senior grad students and postdocs

Late July or early August

Deadline: June 15

http://www.asmgap.org/

MANY OTHER CAREER TRAJECTORIES



Examples of other trajectories

Tech writer

Publishing

Journalism

Venture capital

Business analyst

Entrepreneur

Patent agent; law

Public policy

Regulatory affairs


Academic Press

Job Hunting


A career should match your temperament, skills

Educate yourself about careers

Educate yourself about a particular workplace

What is the daily life for that professional?

Job Hunting


Read the ad carefully and show that you are a

great match


Cover letter should answer any questions


Teaching and research statements


CV should show teaching and research


Copies of papers if requested


No ‘extras’
-

less is more!


Request
appropriate

reference letters


Proofread


Observe deadlines

Negotiating the offer


Don’t be a jerk/prima dona


Negotiate in good faith


Find out what is ‘typical’ for new faculty


Be willing to share, wait


Don’t spend all of the start
-
up immediately


Get everything in writing


Be grateful and a good departmental
citizen

Balance


You can’t do it all: limit and focus


Prioritize


See advice


Don’t procrastinate


Just say no
-

don’t over
-
extend


Network


Check in with your mentors


Reduce stress

Follow your passion!

• Choose a subject you love

• Pursue knowledge, skill aggressively

• Encourage and inspire others

• Be broad and inclusive

• Share your knowledge and ideas:


mentor and be mentored