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Visiting Scholars

Moving from Science to Educational Research

A seminar with Professor Diane Ebert-May of the Michigan State University Department of Plant Biology

Monday, January 5, 2009 from 8:00am -9:00 am; Location UC 330

As the call to reform undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education accelerates nationally, we use 'scientific teaching' to describe active learning strategies and teaching methods that have been systematically tested and shown to reach diverse students. Emphasis on assessment assists us in determining not only if our students understand key principles, demonstrate basic scientific skills, interconnect ideas, and exercise critical thought, but also why students can do so or not. Intensive faculty development activities to achieve improvement in undergraduate science education have occurred in universities and colleges for nearly two decades. Our laboratory group is engaged in research driven by two questions: (1) How has faculty teaching changed in response to professional development? and (2) Do levels of student learning and academic achievement also change significantly in response to the changes in instruction? We use design research methodologies and structural equation modeling to identify and analyze the variables that correlate with faculty and student change. In this seminar, we will examine the dimensions of pedagogical change that enable students to advance from rote learning toward higher-level thinking.

Dr Diane Ebert-May

Pathways to Scientific Teaching

January 5th -7th 2009 from 8:00am - 4:00pm; Location UC 330

Apply for this workshop now!

We invite graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty who want to learn more about developing and implementing learner-centered instructional materials and teaching strategies for interdisciplinary and introductory science courses to participate in this workshop. We will use the approach of ‘scientific teaching’ to bring to teaching the critical thinking, rigor, creativity, and spirit of experimentation that defines research. Scientific teaching involves actively engaging students in the process of science using instructional methods shown to be effective in helping students learn better than passive lectures. By integrating the research model into a teaching approach, participants will gain experience in developing materials, instructional methods, and assessments directed at improving and assessing students’ understanding of biological science. Participants will:

  • Use backwards design to develop a learner-centered framework for a course
  • Create learning goals and assessments that enable students to demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of concepts as well as application, analysis and synthesis
  • Develop, use and evaluate instructional resources, technology and literature on active learning
  • Design, implement, and analyze assessment tools that gauge student learning and teaching
  • Demonstrate understanding of how and why to create learner-centered classrooms

Diane Ebert-May provides national leadership for promoting professional development, evaluation and improvement of faculty, postdoctoral teaching fellows, and graduate students who actively participate in creative research about teaching and learning in the context of their discipline. She actively contributes to the educational initiatives of the Ecological Society of America, has served on the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Evaluating Undergraduate Teaching and the NRC Committee on Integrating Education with Biocomplexity, is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; is on the editorial board of CBE-Life Sciences Education (American Society of Cell Biology), and served as advisory board member of the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC).


Dr. Peter Daszak

Since earning his Ph.D. in parasitology, he has been a prolific researcher on the taxonomy, pathology, and conservation impact of parasitic diseases. In collaboration with groups in Britain, Australia, and the United States, he discovered chytridiomyc osis, a previously unknown fungal disease of amphibians that is a major cause of frog population declines globally and may be transmitted by bull frogs. This discovery highlights the link that has been shown to exist between global trade and disease emergence, a process known as pathogen pollution.

A teacher in American and British universities, Dr. Daszak has served on committees of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Department of the Interior. He is the author of many scientific papers. Currently, he is co- authoring a popular science book on emerging wildlife diseases. His work has been the focus of extensive media coverage in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and U.S. News & World Report. He has appeared on CNN, ABC, NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” and NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Why Do Emerging Diseases Like SARS and West Nile Happen and What Can We Do to Stop Them?

Place & Time: GBB 123 from 3:10 PM - 4:30 PM

Using Ecological Approaches To Understand And Predict Emerging Diseases

Place & Time: UC Theatre at 8:00 PM

Round Table Luncheon

November 10, 2008 from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM; Room UC 329


Image of Heikki Haario, a former Montana - Ecology of Infectious Disease (M-EID) Visiting Scholar

Dr. Heikki Harrio

As a part of IGERT Scholar in Residence program, Professor Heikki Haario of Finland (Lappeenranta University of Technology and University of Helsinki) will present a short course on Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approach for estimation of reliability regions for dynamic models parameters identified by fitting model results to data. The topics of major examples addressed in the short course will be familiar to the IGERT students: the model problems statements are going to be taken from core IGERT course Math 414 final projects. However, the treatment of reliability regions estimates for these examples will be somewhat different. The short course will ideally complement the material that the IGERT students acquired during the fall semester of 2007 in the core course Math 414.

Schedule of Hekki Harrio

Professor Harrio will be lecturing each day from 10:00am until 3:00pm. There will be a scheduled lunch break from 12:00pm-1:00pm every day.

Professor Harrio is available for individually scheduled appointments on Monday the 13th and Tuesday the 14th. Please contact Kate Tran at the MEID office to schedule a time to meet 406-243-5670.


Image of Dr. Rita Colwell, a upcoming Montana - Ecology of Infectious Disease (M-EID) Visiting Scholar

Dr. Rita Colwell

Career Paths in Science - Round Table Luncheon

Date: Monday April 14th, 2008 at 12:00pm - DHS 023
Dr. Rita Colwell, Distinguished Professor University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg School of Public Health; Chairman of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.

Oceans, Climate, and Human Health: The Cholera Paradigm

Date: Monday, 14 April 2008 at 8:00pm - University Theatre
Dr. Rita Colwell, Distinguished Professor University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg School of Public Health; Chairman of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc.