Teaching

There is perhaps no subject more relevant than the study of life itself. I relish in inspiring a diverse range of students about the wonders of biodiversity, the importance of evolutionary and ecological thinking to human health and natural resource management, how our bodies work, and how we are all connected through our shared molecular heritage. These stories resonate with students, and emphasize the importance and intrinsic relevance of biology to everyday life.

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Hands-on teaching about amphibian and reptile conservation at public outreach event “Sense of Wonder Day” at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah

Whether working with science majors, non-science majors, or members of the public, I believe that it is important be creative, caring, and inspiring, and utilize a variety of techniques and approaches to help facilitate learning. Thus, when learning about the functional anatomy of reptiles, it is best to hold a snake. When learning about mitosis and meiosis, my students act out each step. When teaching about circulatory and respiratory physiology, students calculate their heart-rate before and after exercise. I tell the human stories of biological discovery in my lectures, illustrating the scientific method on the whiteboard, and I integrate my own research into the learning process.

I believe that students learn biology best by doing biology, and I am passionate about the integration of teaching and research. Indeed, introducing students to the research process is one of the most rewarding parts of my career. In addition to incorporating research activities into the classroom, laboratory, and field, I have been priviliged to mentor research undergraduate, honours, Masters, and PhD students, many of whom have gone on to PhD programs, and other careers.

I also believe in bringing science education outside of the university, to the general community, and am involved in numerous science outreach activities, including hands-on public environmental education sessions, working with daycare and school children, and judging at science fairs.


Undergraduate Teaching Experience 

I have been involved in undergraduate biology education as a sessional lecturer (course instructor), guest lecturer, laboratory coordinator and instructor (TA), peer-led team learning  (PLTL) workshop leader, and project supervisor over the last eight years at the University of Northern British Columbia, Utah State University, and the University of Melbourne, and enjoy teaching a wide range of courses in animal biology, ecology, and evolution. I have specific teaching experience in:

  • Biology and the Citizen (non-majors introductory biology) – Course Instructor
  • Human Physiology – Laboratory Instructor & Coordinator, and Guest Lecturer
  • Introductory Biology (for majors) – Lab Instructor, PLTL Workshop Leader
  • Experimental Animal Behaviour – Project Supervisor