Archive for March, 2018

SFSU SEPAL and Biology Alumnus Professor to receive Outstanding Award !

Jeff Schinske obtained his MS in Marine Biology (2007) while here at SFSU. He too was working within the Routman Lab here at SFSU. He was selected to be the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Science Teaching Award from the Society for College Science Teaching. Recipients are selected based on a set criteria. That criteria is premised on teaching excellence, scholarship, and service. Also, they must have been involved with actively instructing science for the past 5 years. Teaching excellence is determined on teaching philosophy and how effective. Scholarship is more looking at publications in science education, presentations, grants received, and other forms of scholarship. Finally looking at service it is geared toward the service provided to science education, students, other instructors, and educational organizations.

            This award is very important. Since, it is the 25th year in which the award was first presented. However it is the fact that this is the first time in which this award is to be awarded to a community college science instructor. All the people who were previously awarded this prize were hailing from 4-year college and universities. He will be accepting this award at the upcoming 2018 National Science Teachers Association conference in Atlanta this coming week.

Designing an NGSS Learning Pathway How informal institutions can help teachers implement the NGSS

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) workshops at California Academy of Sciences is something which our very own SEPAL Alum, MS in Marine Biology Kathryn Danielson helped formulate. Clea Matson ( Senior Associate of Teacher Professional Development) and Kathryn Danielson worked along one another to help write this article. The article is regarding the creation of workshops to help facilitate a smooth transition to the new science standards. This initiative seeks to emphasize critical thinking and meaning-making. Over 1,000 Bay Area instructors have partaken in this workshop. They are now sharing what insight they have gained nationwide For the article was published in Science and Children, which is an award-winning peer-reviewed journal for preK-5 science teachers.

Check out the article here….

Dispelling the Myth that Scientist don’t care about teaching

Scientist at times can be seen as more focused on research, at the expense of their students. However, the Biology department here is taking a stance on providing Biology instructors an area in which they can improve the way they teach. In doing this Professor of Biology Kimberly Tanner and her colleagues are paving the way for this to occur. It began with a five-day summer training institute, as the time progressed 89% of instructors within the Biology department attended at least one workshop. While 83% attended follow-up programs.  The individuals who went through the program experienced more than 100 hours on training.


The training was centered on a few techniques for example “active learning.” This would provide the students with the proper tools for controlling how they learn. In order to determine how efficient this program is, a technique of analyzing recordings of classroom noise/student participation was utilized. This research helped debunk a myth regarding the correlation among how much time faculty devote to their teaching, and how this hinders their research. It was discovered that only 6% of study participants believed this, on the other hand 30% believed the opposite. The opposite side of the spectrum thought it positively influenced their research. Professor Tanner attributes this to a shift in a more cohesive sense of community due to the trainings provided.

Techniques like this engage students which is vital to them. Several students tend to leave Biology. Professor Tanner states, “And they leave based on personal demographics — more women leave, more students of color leave. These strategies will help us retain more of those students.” This should seek to have other universities follow suit.