Upcoming Presentations and Workshops:

Next Generation Careers: Innovation in Environmental Biology Education

Date: October 17-19, 2016
Location: Maritime Institute (CCMIT) in Linthicum, MD (Baltimore)
Workshop Attendee: McLaughlin, J.S.

Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin, Associate Professor of Biology and Founding Director of Penn State CHANCE, has been selected to participate in national incubator project entitled: Next Generation Careers: Innovation in Environmental Biology Education. About 40 representatives from academia, private sector, government, and non-governmental organizations were invited to seed a new network to support workforce development for college graduate career progression into environmental biology, including fields such as ecology, evolution, conservation, plant biology and natural resource management. A kick-off workshop will be held from October 17-19, 2016 at the Maritime Institute (CCMIT) in Linthicum, MD conference center. This workshop is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (RCN-UBE) under the direction of the Society of Conservation Biology (SCB) and the Ecological Society of America (ESA).

2016 NABT Professional Development Conference

Date: November 3-6, 2016
Location: Denver Sheraton Downtown, Denver, CO
Time: TBD
Symposium Presenters: McLaughlin, J.S.

The Authentic Research Experience in the Introductory Biology Laboratory Improves Student Perception of Laboratory Skills, Knowledge, and Interest in Scientific Research

Jacqueline S. McLaughlin1, David E. Favre2, Suzanne Weinstein3, Christine M. Goedhart4

1 Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University-Lehigh Valley, PA; 2 Department of Educational Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, PA; 3 Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, The Pennsylvania State University, PA; 4Department of Biology, Citrus College, CA

Authentic undergraduate research laboratory experiences are essential to aid in the implementation of science education reform mandates and to effectively train a new generation of biology students who can think critically. These types of experiences have been shown to improve student comfort with, and perceptions of, science and to increase student persistence within the discipline, particularly for underrepresented student populations. Here we present assessment data on a unique four-step pedagogical framework that allows students to develop scientific thinking and practices while authentically engaging in the scientific process. This framework was used to transform a sophomore-level introductory biology laboratory course for biology majors at a 4-year college branch campus and an honors introductory biology laboratory course for non-majors at a 2-year college. The goal of the transformation was to provide students with the opportunity to experience scientific research in the manner in which professional research scientists conduct it through devising, designing, executing, interpreting, and communicating their experimental results. Student responses to the assessments utilized in this study showed improvements in students’ perceptions of their laboratory skills and knowledge, and their interest in doing further research in the laboratory. The simplicity and flexibility involved in the four-step model allows it to be easily adopted for use within the unique infrastructure and resource environments at a variety of institutions and at different levels of biological study, effectively increasing student access to authentic scientific research.

This page was last modified on September 4th 2016 by BSS
Send questions or comments to jshea@psu.edu.