Microbiology Education Journal Celebrates Five Years of Publication

In May 2004, the Board of Education published the fifth volume of the journal Microbiology Education. Put forward originally by Amy Vollmer, the first editor of the journal, and Spencer Benson, chair of the Committee for Undergraduate Education, the goal of the journal was to provide a venue for microbiologists to publish their scholarly work in microbiology education and provide the ASM membership with current research on the topic. When asked why she was so eager to start the journal, Vollmer quickly stated, “Whenever I suggested that faculty at colleges and universities be evaluated and rewarded for their teaching, as they are for their research, the retort was always that while they have ways to assess excellence in research, they don't have anything comparable in teaching.”

            As with any new journal, we were anxious to determine the impact this journal would have on microbiology education. After five years of publication, analysis of who has published in the journal supports the case. Over 80 manuscripts have been submitted, with over 100 unique authors contributing from 85 different institutions. These institutions range from renowned research universities to community colleges. In addition, 39 ad-hoc reviewers have participated in the review process, adding their 39 institutions to the total. At a minimum, the journal has made an impact on these 124 institutions, but we have discovered that the impact is much wider. With over 8,000 downloads of the Web-based version of the journal in 2003, many educators are taking advantage of this resource.

            While the journal was originally envisioned to target undergraduate education, the submissions of manuscripts have been much broader. In addition to novel educational models from the lectures and laboratories of undergraduate institutions, we have published scholarly activity relating to service learning in high-school and middle-school classrooms, and the teaching of microbiology to middle-school students. These diverse types of manuscripts have shown that the title, Microbiology Education, appropriately describes the contents.

            As the Board looks forward to the next five years of publication of Microbiology Education, we encourage all microbiology educators to think about the scholarship opportunities provided by their classrooms. True assessment of the learning being attained in the classroom provides the instructor with a better understanding of the effectiveness of their techniques. Providing what you learn from this assessment to other microbiologists helps push microbiology education forward. We at Microbiology Education stand ready to assist authors in publishing this scholarship.

            More information can be found at  index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24971. Articles are accepted throughout the year; reviews are conducted each year between 1 October and 30 December, with final publication in May.


Jeffrey Byrd

Jeffrey Byrd is a Professor of Biology at St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City, Maryland, and is the editor of the journal Microbiology Education.