Teaching Microbiology

Microbiology education blog for undergraduate and graduate faculty

Written by Wilbur Chen | Educational board games can initiate important conversations about public health - all while participants have fun!
The new Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education issue focuses on science communication. Guest Editor Jesus Romo highlights articles about scicomm training for early-career scientists and using those skills for community and institutional engagement!
Agar Art—the process of using living microorganisms as “paint” on an agar “canvas”—shows people a side of microbiology that most never experience. As graduate student Sarah Adkins and her advisor, Dr. J. Jeffrey Morris, have discovered, it’s also a great motivator in the classroom.  
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:54

The inspiration (and organization) behind ABRCMS

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“Each year, I ask myself, ‘How am I going to wow folks?’” says Irene Hulede, organizer of the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Hulede has worked on ABRCMS from its conception through its annual reorganization, and each year she strives to improve on the last. Learn what inspires Hulede and how her career trajectory change has affected the more than 49,000 ABRCMS attendees over the years.
Written by Rachel Yoho, Ph.D. As a new faculty member, I’m ready to soak up all of the wisdom about finding funding for biology education activities and research I can. So far, I’ve heard that it boils down to persistence, choosing the right grant program, and building on small successes.
Thursday, 03 August 2017 09:26

5 Tips on Giving Student Researchers Useful Feedback

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Regular and useful feedback heightens students’ motivation and strengthens the mentor/mentee relationship; the yield from this relationship will have a lasting influence on the student’s future. Regular feedback also instills core values for members of your laboratory to apply to all aspects of their professional careers. Student researchers want to do their best and enhance their science and communication skills while working in the lab, and these 5 recommendations to improve the quality of feedback can help them get the most out of their experience.
The U.S. scientific workforce doesn’t reflect the diversity of the U.S. population, though research suggests that more diverse teams have a greater scientific impact and solve problems better than less-diverse teams. Decades of effort by federal agencies, institutions of higher education, scientific societies, and others have been put into increasing the diversity of the scientific workforce, and while some progress has been made, there’s still a lot of work to do. As a faculty member, one way that you can help diversify the future STEM workforce (and your lab) is to mentor students by providing feedback on their presentations.
How do you know whether you and your colleagues teach microbiology concepts in a way that students understand and consistently recognize?  Concept inventories help instructors understand students’ retention of knowledge and identify common misconceptions. They provide assessment data that departments and institutions continually collect and analyze about student learning. They also provide an opportunity for faculty professional development and can reinforce concepts across a curriculum. 
Many nursing programs (particularly those offering a two-year associate’s degree in nursing) are facing pressure to reduce or eliminate microbiology in their curriculum. We invite you to join ASM’s Task Committee on Microbiology in the Nursing Curriculum at the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) 2017 for a series of sessions on challenges facing microbiology in the nursing curriculum, ASM Curriculum Guidelines and a Toolkit to foster the inclusion of microbiology, and a community discussion surrounding these topics. 
Thursday, 22 June 2017 08:24

High-Impact Practices in Microbiology Education

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The LEAP Initiative identifies 10 evidence-based, high-impact educational practices that support the success of undergraduate students. At ASM Microbe 2017, several faculty members shared their LEAP-influenced best practices for improving student outcomes. 
Thursday, 15 June 2017 09:47

Learn How to Be a Good Mentor in the Lab

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Dr. Stephen Goff, recipient of the 2017 ASM D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award, advises grad students and lab technicians to “go wherever smart people are doing great science.” During a recent symposium at ASM Microbe 2017, he shared some advice for principal investigators too, on being a good mentor and advisor. 
The ABRCMS conference for underrepresented minority students in STEM offers travel award opportunities for students who wish to present at the conference but don't have the funds to attend, as well as for faculty who are interested in judging student presentations.
Headed to New Orleans for ASM Microbe 2017? The online program is now available, and as a microbiology educator there are a few sessions that have me excited for the meeting to get under way. 
Monday, 08 May 2017 09:38

This Mother’s Day, Give the Gift of Science

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Here in the U.S. (and many other countries), it’s almost Mother’s Day.  In celebration, we’re offering up ideas to help you share your love of science with your mom (or other family and friends).
ASM’s Microbe Academy for Professional Development (MAPD) helps prepare microbiology students for success. Patricia Baynham, Ph.D., ASM Committee on Minority Education member and one of the facilitators of MAPD, recently shared some of the program’s key characteristics as well as ways that others can use MAPD as a model to foster student success at conferences and beyond. 
In an introductory microbiology lab, one common goal is to increase student skills with the microscope, including the ability to properly stain a bacterial specimen. But what is the best way to assess improvement in these skills?
Friday, 21 April 2017 11:23

Teaching Biodiversity on Earth Day (or Any Day)

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In celebration of Earth Day, we’re offering up 4 open-access, peer-reviewed resources from the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) to help infuse biodiversity-related content into your K-12 or undergraduate classroom and lab.
Monday, 17 April 2017 09:31

How to Write a Great Grant Application

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Writing a grant application can be daunting, especially when you’re new to the process. How do you know what funding opportunities are available, how to make your writing both succinct and impactful, and how to make sure you’ve completed all of the forms correctly?
Monday, 10 April 2017 08:39

Bring the Latest Science to Your Classroom

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The ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) is unique in that the latest advances in teaching, assessment, research on learning, and mentoring are presented and discussed alongside cutting-edge science, allowing educators to bring both current education practices and science topics into their classrooms.
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 11:18

Transforming Microbiology Education

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The ubiquitous nature of microorganisms, their growth and metabolic uniqueness, and modern science’s need to harness these life forms to solve global challenges of the future make Microbes as a Way of Solving Global Challenges a transformational concept in education.
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