Although I am a tenured professor in a plant biology department, my research focuses on developing and measuring the effectiveness of curriculum and instructional strategies utilized in college science classrooms. In particular, I have focused on examining the acquisition of scientific literacy skills in biology courses designed to fulfill general science graduation requirements. I am most interested in the following three questions:
- What motivates students to dig in to do the hard work of learning and how does collaboration influence student motivation? To address this, I have developed and utilized instruments designed to measure student motivation to learn science in different contexts.
- Do students actually make gains in scientific literacy skills as a result of taking a general education courses? I have developed an instrument called the TOSLS that is aligned with science policy recommendations to test scientific literacy skills, Using this instrument, i was able to show greater gains for students taking a project-based curriculum compared to students in more traditional courses. I am currently interested in how to best disseminate this curriculum to current and future faculty.
- What role does instructional feedback play in the willingness of faculty to change their teaching practices?