Postdoctoral Fellow, Duke University Molecular Physiology Institute
Educating university students began, for me, as a laborious job and has evolved into a true passion. If the ultimate goal of my research endeavors is to increase knowledge and better human lives, then communicating that knowledge to the next generation of scientists is of utmost import. The laboratory teaching component in our current teaching system should be an integral aspect of any students time in higher education; these courses need to deliver the critical, hands on experience to prepare students to advance their fields in both academia and industry. Unfortunately, this system is failing, as students, teaching assistants, and professors often view these courses as an afterthought, easily forgotten in the midst seemingly more important undertakings. The state of our university laboratory courses must be repaired.
I must admit that, at the beginning of my time as a graduate teaching assistant, I acted as a weight to further hold this system in place than a catalyst for change. However, thanks to the U.S. Department Of Education Graduate Assistance In Areas Of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship and Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching (CoAT) Programs at North Carolina State University I was able to revamp my teaching philosophy, strategies, and attitude. My goal here is to provide a small cache of resources and information that I found extremely helpful in revamping my approach to teaching laboratory courses.