Description and Eligibility

LMacDonaldApplication Deadline: 9/13/2013

Institute Overview
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is offering a 5-month development opportunity to help prepare doctoral-trained students for science teaching positions at a variety of non-doctoral institutions. Fellows in the program take part in a highly focused training experience that combines in-depth webinars, pre- and post-webinar assignments, structured mentoring, and a community of practice. The experience is designed to help fellows deepen their understanding and strengthen their skills for science teaching positions at community colleges, minority-serving institutions, regional or state colleges, and primary undergraduate institutes. The experience is fast-paced, intense, interactive, and presents practical examples in microbiology education.

2013-2014 Steering Committee
Chair, Jennifer Bennett, Otterbein University
Patricia Baynham, St. Edward's University
Lianna Etchberger, Utah State University
Byrn (Boots) Quimby, University of Maryland, College Park

ASM Education Board Liaisons
Neil Baker, Ohio State University Emeritus (Chair, ASM Education Board)
Loretta Brancaccio-Taras, Kingsborough Community College of the City College of New York (Member, ASM Committee on Undergraduate Research)
Cynthia Nau Cornelissen, Virginia Commonwealth University (Chair, ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education)
Laura Runyen-Janecky, University of Richmond (Member, ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education)

Program Goal
The program goal is to develop fellows' understanding of career opportunities at different types of institutions, as well as the skills needed to succeed in teaching positions. The program offers professional development opportunities that highlight four areas of critical importance:

  1. Teaching science to undergraduate students
  2. Curriculum and/or course design and assessment
  3. Student-centered, active and engaged learning
  4. Students as research collaborators

Fellows will leave the program with tips for:

  • Determining their ideal teaching position based on an understanding of the culture and responsibilities of faculty and students at various kinds of non-doctoral institutions
  • Designing an effective curriculum based on current best practices in the field
  • Identifying and finding tools, resources, and connections to enhance classroom practices
  • Developing relationships with local schools and colleges to get more teaching experience
  • Developing or modifying a curriculum vitae for science teaching positions
  • Developing or modifying a teaching portfolio to reflect the skills required for positions at non-doctoral institutions
  • Developing a productive research program in collaboration with undergraduate students

The program format includes:

  • Webinars along with discussions and a question-and-answer period to become familiar with terms, concepts and best practices from experts
  • Pre- and post-webinar assignments, including readings, skill-building activities (e.g., short questions, problems, and cases), and reflections designed to help fellows deepen their understanding, practice emerging skills, and keep on task
  • Online community of fellows, mentors and facilitators to share readings and resources and connect fellows with experts

In 2011, this format was cited in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action, a report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The report lauded the ASM Education Board for establishing a process that (i) helped participants maintain contact with the leadership and fellow participants and (ii) "may be much more successful in informing and supporting changes in teaching practices in biology departments."1

1. Brewer, C. and D. Smith. 2011. Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Washington, DC.

An eligible applicant must be:

  • A graduate student, postdoctoral fellow or early-career scientist (a scientist who has completed his or her postdoctoral studies within the last three years)
  • Studying, conducting research or teaching in the microbiological sciences
  • An ASM student, postdoctoral, transitional or full time member
  • Willing to commit time and resources to participate in program activities from October 2013 to January 2014
  • Interested in teaching at a non-doctoral institution

Participation Requirements
Upon acceptance into the program, fellows will be required to:

  • Participate in six 60-minute webinars
  • Complete all pre- and post-webinar assignments in a timely manner
  • Participate in an online community of practice
  • Participate in surveys for a maximum of 24 months to ascertain the effectiveness of the training
  • Have a personal computer to connect to the webinars, access assignments, and participate in the program's online community

The assignments will provide a solid foundation and practical experience for enhancing the fellows' training, development, and confidence.

Sponsorship and Credentials
The ASM Science Teaching Fellowship Program is managed by the American Society for Microbiology Education Board.  In 2000, President Clinton recognized the ASM Education Board for its contribution to graduate education by presenting it with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education.