Teaching

My teaching goals are to help students learn biology content, hone data literacy skills, and challenge misconceptions about the nature of science, all to prepare them for their future careers and to be productive citizens of their community. More broadly, I want to spark and encourage excitement about biology and help students reach goals of serving their communities as educated professionals.

 

My primary teaching interests are centered around these goals – courses that are designed to (1) engage students' interest and build confidence to enhance retention in the major (e.g., Principles of Biology), (2) spark curiosity about biology for students of other fields (non-majors courses), or (3) be directly relevant to students' health-related career goals (e.g., A&P). Secondarily, I also enjoy teaching upper-division majors courses in evolutionary biology and ecology.

 

I am especially interested in teaching methods that are supported by evidence. In 2018, I attended the Gulf Coast Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching at LSU. This weeklong workshop introduced faculty to evidence-based teaching strategies in the sciences. "Active teaching" and "scientific teaching" are often used interchangeably, but the instructors emphasized that scientific teaching refers specifically to methods that have been supported by published research as effective in enhancing student learning. In an effort to better support all students and narrow the achievement gap I've observed in many courses, I adopt ideas from culturally responsive teaching, including regularly incorporating cultural diversity into my course materials and making course content relevant to students' lived experiences, backgrounds, and goals.

 

Courses Taught at ULM

Instructor of record. Semesters taught noted in parentheses. Noted courses redesigned by me in COVID era for *100% online or (H) hybrid.

Undergraduate Courses

Principles of Biology II, majors; Lecture [S 18, 19, 20*, 21*, 22 (H)]
Principles of Biology II, majors; Lab [S 18, 19, 20*, 21 (H), 22 (H)]
Plant & Animal Form & Function; Lecture/Lab [F 18, 20 (H)]
    Laboratory Coordinator [F 18, 19, 20 (H), 21]
Principles of Ecology [F 17, 19, 21 (H)]
Evolutionary Biology [F 17, 18; S 20*, 21*, 22]
Senior Biology Seminar [S 18]
Life Science & Public Policy [S 22]

 

Graduate Courses

Organic Evolution [Sp 18, 20*, 22]
Research Methods: Computational Biology; Lecture/Lab [Sp 19, F 20*]
Biogeography [F 19, 21 (H)]
Systematic Biology [Sp 21*]
Graduate Seminar [Sp 18]

 

Although the specific topics in biology covered in this course are not my main points of interest, Dr. Newman made them so interesting and easy to understand that I found myself questioning whether the material we covered WAS my main interest and I just hadn't realized it yet.

Dr. Newman was the best professor to have during this pandemic. She transitioned to online classes flawlessly, was incredibly helpful with extenuating circumstances and illnesses, and made an effort to provide her class with an outlet for our anxieties and concerns during these times.