FIRST IV: Postdoctoral Scholars

Presented by Sarah Jardeleza

Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST IV) is a multi-institution professional development program for biology postdoctoral scholars that will shape their beliefs about and approaches to teaching undergraduate biology. Upon completion of the program, each will have an introductory biology course developed based on scientific teaching and learner-centered instruction, ultimately resulting in improved student learning. FIRST IV uses expert faculty in the FIRST national network to implement professional development workshops, provide mentoring in teaching, and long-term support for postdocs. Our initial research question investigates the extent to which FIRST participants apply what they learned from the workshops during their mentored teaching experience. We are assessing the professional development of postdocs using direct observation of their teaching, surveys of their practices and their beliefs about teaching and student perceptions of the postdocs’ teaching practices. During year one, 100 postdocs completed a weeklong workshop followed by one or more mentored teaching experiences. Each will return for a second workshop in summer 2010. A new cohort of 100 postdocs will be recruited in fall 2010 for workshops beginning in May 2011.