In 2012, forty life sciences educators throughout the United States accepted a daunting but important task -- to serve as catalysts to stimulate department-wide reform in undergraduate Life Sciences programs across the country. This is the work of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), which was established through a collaborative effort among leaders from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute for Health/National Institute for General Medical Science, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Additional PULSE Fellows have joined in this work, and the PULSE Fellows in the Southwest region include:
I am the Associate Dean of Student Success and Instructional Innovation in the Colleges of Sciences at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and served as the chair of Biology for eight years. I am also a professor of neurobiology in the Department of Biology and the program director of the NIH-NIGMS MARC/ RISE student training programs. These programs are designed to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines. After several years investigating the biology of learning and memory, I began focusing my efforts on student success and pedagogy in STEM disciplines. As a first generation, I identify with the struggles that some of our students have. Being part of PULSE has been a life changing experience. I have met many colleagues who share my passion to empower students to succeed. Indeed, I have learned a great deal from them. I hold workshops to provide training in best teaching practices for current and incoming faculty in my college and national conferences. I find it exciting when I see faculty and future faculty understand the importance of adapting new pedagogical practices to facilitate learning. I teach neurobiology to undergraduate students and biology of learning and memory to graduate students pursuing teaching certificates.
I am an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Molecular and Cellular Biology department at the University of Arizona, where I focus my efforts on improving the teaching and learning of biology. I have been at the University of Arizona since 1998 and have been taught biology majors, biology graduate students, secondary biology teachers-in-training, and working biology teachers, as well as, occasionally, medical students. My current roles on campus are as instructor and team leader for a large introductory molecular and cellular biology course for life-science majors; instructor for an upper-division cell biology course; director of undergraduate studies for the MCB department; and co-director of the UA STEM Learning Center. My science interests are in the molecular and cell biology that dictates developmental decisions in animal embryos, but my current research focuses on students’ use of quantitative strategies in introductory biology and the promotion of active-learning strategies through faculty learning communities. I am a member of the Southwest and Ambassadors Circles in PULSE.
Dr. David Marcey received a B.A. in Biology from the College of Wooster and a Ph.D. in Biology from The University of Utah. After postdoctoral fellowships at The Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany and at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, he taught and conducted collaborative research with undergraduates at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, for nine years. He joined the California Lutheran University faculty as Fletcher Jones Professor of Developmental Biology in 1999 and currently serves as chair of Biology at CLU.
Marcey’s research in Drosophila developmental genetics has been funded by the American Cancer Society, the National Science Foundation, and the Fletcher Jones Foundation. Ongoing projects in his lab include studies of genetic control of tissue formation and the role of transposable elements in gene regulation. He teaches a wide variety of courses in the CLU Biology Department, including Introduction to Genes and Development, Introduction to Experimental Biology, Genetics, Developmental Biology, and Goodness, Truth, and Beauty in the honors Program.
Marcey has considerable pedagogical experience with molecular visualization. His modeling website, The Online Macromolecular Museum (OMM), pioneered the use of web-based tutorials in visualizing macromolecular structure. The OMM is currently employed by students and faculty worldwide. He has authored and co-authored, with students, numerous tutorials that accompany major textbooks in Molecular Biology, including Molecular Biology of the Gene (Watson, et al., 5th and subsequent editions), Molecular Cell Biology (Lodish, et al. 5th edition), Immunology (Kuby, et al.4th, 5th editions), and The World of the Cell (Becker, et al., 8th and subsequent editions). He co-edited a book on interdisciplinary approaches to STEM education and research, Integrative Science: A Virtual Roundtable (2008, Springer Press).
Marcey has championed a model for introductory Biology pedagogy based on the flipped model of instruction, delivering course content by creating and delivering screencast videos, and transforming his lecture classes into active learning experiences. Published assessment of this approach has indicated significant improvements in student learning outcomes, and the model is now being employed by other CLU faculty.
Marcey has served on the editorial boards of Biochemical and Molecular Biology Education (Elsevier), biomednet.com, Life Sciences Education, and Project MERLOT, an online peer reviewed journal of digital learning tools. He was also on the Advisory Board for Life (11e), and served as a Mentor in the PALM program (Promoting Active Learning and Mentoring) administered by ASCB, GSA, and other professional societies.
He served on the Committee of Examiners for the Biology GRE for eight years (chair for four years). He was a National Academies of Science Teaching Fellow (2013-2014). As one of the current PULSE Fellows (2012-present), Marcey has been active in creating a framework for Biology education reform at the national level.
I am a Professor of Biology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where I have been for 24 years. I served as Chair of Biology for 12 years, but I recently stepped down to fill a Murchison Term Professor position for 3 years. While Chair I also served as Co-PI and Director of Trinity’s HHMI program (2009-10 and 1012-13) and Faculty Shepherd for Trinity’s $127,000 Center for the Sciences and Innovation that was recently completed. I have maintained an active research program in mammalian evolutionary ecology, including biomathematical research on species distributions. This research has taken me in recent years to Costa Rica, China, and Southern Africa. I have taught a variety of courses from interdisciplinary courses for first year students (Global Climate Change) to upper division biology courses in vertebrate evolution. I am a recognized leader on our campus in promoting active learning strategies (flipped classrooms, etc.) and have been an active leader of Trinity’s Collaborative for Learning and Teaching. I serve on the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) as a Biology Division Councilor. I am passionate about science education and providing the best education possible to this country and I have found PULSE to be very energizing and effective. In my spare time I enjoy fly fishing, kayaking, cycling, and hiking.
As a tenured Professor, my laboratory – SEPAL: The Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory – conducts biology education research within the Department of Biology at San Francisco State University. Since joining the SFSU faculty in 2004, my SEPAL research group has addressed three main lines of inquiry: (1) understanding the novice-to-expert transition among undergraduate biology majors, (2) developing novel assessment approaches to revealing student conceptions in science, and (3) evaluating the effectiveness of approaches to promoting equity in science. Additionally, I have collaborated on research investigating Science Faculty with Education Specialties (SFES) that has been published in Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and PLOS ONE. Both SEPAL’s research efforts and change efforts have been supported by NSF GK-12, TUES, CAREER, and Core Research awards, as well on a National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership award and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Award. Through these awards, we have engaged hundreds of science faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students – locally, regionally, and nationally – in professional development to support innovative and evidence-based science teaching. I am also proud to have been a founding member of the Editorial Board for CBE: Life Sciences Education, to have co-authored the widely read Approaches to Biology Teaching and Learning features, and to have co-authored the book Transformations: Approaches to College Science Teaching. Long ago, I earned my B.A. in Biochemistry from Rice University (1991) and my Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UC San Francisco (1997). Being a recipient of an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology Education (PFSMETE) – conducted jointly between Stanford University and UC San Francisco – launched me on the career path that I continue on today.
I am a professor of biology & biochemistry and the dean of the College of Sciences & Technology at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). I am a developmental biologist by training but my teaching has focused almost exclusively on biochemistry and molecular biology during my 18 years at UHD. I served as the chair of the Department of Natural Sciences for eight years, then just when I was looking for an office to hide in, I was “invited” to be the interim dean. Then, seduced by the fun of interacting with an even wider range of faculty and students than just the four basic sciences, I applied for and became the dean of the college in 2013. My interest in undergraduate science education developed during my early years at UHD leading me to engage in a variety of activities beyond the classroom to support undergraduate student success, ranging from providing rich undergraduate research experiences, to participating in student clubs, to providing workshops on professional interviews and resume writing. I believe that the quality of education we provide at urban universities like UHD, in which two-thirds of our students are Hispanic or African-American, is a critical component to future American economic growth and success globally. One of my goals as an academic leader has been to show my colleagues where the challenges and opportunities are, listen to ideas & help implement ideas, and in general, plow the road for the faculty so that they can pursue their scholarship and education of our students. Supporting and helping bring professional success to bright, eager but historically, academically under-resourced students has been one of the greatest professional experiences of my life. I came to PULSE via an email from a NSF program coordinator who thought I should apply to become one of the 40 Vision & Change Leadership Fellows. I did and was chosen. Talk about winning the lottery. I did really did, as I have learned so much about leadership and science education these years as a PULSE Fellow.