Committee on Undergraduate Education

The Committee on Undergraduate Education focuses on advancing excellence and scholarship in undergraduate biology education. Its activities include sponsoring the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE), Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE), ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (ASM-URF), Biology Scholars Program, and Faculty Development Programs. Susan M. Merkel, Ph.D., of Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) chairs the committee.


The mission of the Committee on Undergraduate Education is to:

  • Provide leadership in undergraduate education,
  • Provide student and faculty professional development opportunities,
  • Develop and disseminate resources for undergraduate microbiology education, and
  • Encourage communities and partnerships in microbiology education.


Goal 1.  Promote the importance of microbiology as a discipline through undergraduate education.

  • Foster the preservation of microbiology as an integral part of undergraduate education.
  • Continue to develop and disseminate curricula for undergraduate microbiology education.
  • Provide forums for curriculum development and assessment.

Goal 2.  Promote recognition of the scholarship of undergraduate teaching and learning.

  • Sustain the ASM Scholars-in-Residence program.
  • Sustain, expand and promote the peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education (JMBE) and Focus on Microbiology Education (FOME) newsmagazine.
  • Elevate the importance of teaching among faculty and decision makers at all institutions, especially research-intensive institutions

Goal 3.  Improve the teaching and learning of microbiology for all undergraduate students.

  • Explore effective laboratory experiences across the microbiology education curricula.
  • Encourage and support the integration of research in undergraduate education within and beyond coursework.
  • Encourage and support more students to pursue K-12 teaching.

Goal 4. Promote programs that attract and retain undergraduate students in microbiology.

  • Provide programs in career preparation and advancement in microbiology.
  • Provide teaching and research fellowship programs within and beyond coursework.
  • Recognize student achievement in research and teaching through awards and certificates.

Goal 5.  Provide and promote professional development for undergraduate educators.

  • Obj. 5.1. Facilitate career transitions and professional development.
  • Collaborate with ASM committees, branches, and divisions to provide professional development opportunities.
  • Collaborate with national and international organizations to provide professional development opportunities.

Goal 6. Collaborate with other ASM committees to increase participation in undergraduate education.

  • Collaborate with ASM committees, branches, and divisions to provide professional development opportunities.
  • Collaborate with national and international organizations to provide professional development opportunities.

Goal 7.  Continue to increase participation of individuals from underrepresented groups in undergraduate microbiology education.

  • Recruit and support students and faculty from underrepresented groups into the field of microbiology.
  • Encourage participation of minority representatives in Committee activities.
  • Consider minority perspectives and cultural differences during the development of curricula, programs, and activities. 

Goal 8.  Sustain effective communication about Committee activities.

  • Sustain communications with ASM members, Divisions, Branches, and other entities.
  • Sustain communications with other professional scientific societies, educators, and students. 

Goal 9.  Increase volunteer involvement, staff support, and financial resources to sustain Committee programs.

  • Recruit, train, reward, and retain volunteers.
  • Obtain additional funding to expand Committee programs.
  • Encourage more ASM members to become involved in undergraduate education.

Goal 10. Assess the effectiveness and impact of Committee programs.

  • Use assessment results to improve programs and obtain funding.

Susan M. Merkel - CHAIR
Department of Microbiology
Cornell University
111 Wing Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-5701
T: 607-254-2767
F: 607-255-3904

Laurie F. Caslake
213 Kunkel Hall
Lafayette College
Easton, PA 18042
T: 610-330-5462

Brad Goodner
Department of Biology
Hiram College
Hiram, OH 44234
T: 330-569-5260
F: 330-569-5448

Todd P. Primm
Department of Biological Sciences
Sam Houston State University
1900 Ave I, Lee Drain Bldg (LDB) Suite 300
PO Box 2116
Huntsville, TX 77341
T: 936-294-1538
F: 936-294-3940
Loretta Brancaccio-Taras
Department of Biological Sciences
Kingsborough Community College
2001 Oriental Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11235-2398
T: 718-368-5502