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The Science of Teaching: Evidence-Based Approaches in Biology Education

School of Biological Sciences Seminar Program

The goal of these seminars and conversations on teaching is to engage in discussions about evidence-based education methods and teaching practices in our own division and in other departments, divisions, and institutions. Seminars will feature invited speakers, and conversations on teaching will be led by colleagues within the School of Biological Sciences. The times and days of the events will vary.

2023-24 Seminars

Portrait of Dr. Jeremy Hsu

From Learning Objectives To Exam Questions: Examining How Changes In Framing Can Influence Students’ Attitudes and Learning

Dr. Jeremy Hsu
Chapman University

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Location: 1205 Natural Sciences Building Auditorium

10 - 11am
Q and A until 11:30am

Hosted by: Claire Meaders (

Learning objectives, quizzes, and exams are common across STEM courses. However, there has been little work done examining how students think about learning objectives and how the wording of such learning objectives may influence students’ attitudes, motivation, and learning in class. Similarly, quizzes and exams are ubiquitous in STEM courses, but there has also been a paucity of past work investigating how the framing of such questions may impact students’ reading and processing of the question as well as their attitudes. In this talk, we will explore how students conceptualize learning objectives and discuss ways instructors can use learning objectives to support student learning. We will then explore how different wordings of the same learning objectives and exam questions can play major roles in influencing students’ attitudes and motivations and examine how instructors can apply these findings to their classes.

Dr. Jeremy HsuFlyer
Portrait of Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez and Dr. Mike Wilton

Scalable Success: Use of Near-Peer Mentors to Promote STEM Student Academic Performance

Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez and Dr. Mike Wilton
University of California – Santa Barbara

Friday, December 8th, 2023

Location: 3201 Tata Hall, Kavli Auditorium

10 - 11am
Q and A until 11:30am

Hosted by: Katie Petrie (

Mentorship is an effective strategy to promote postsecondary STEM student academic success and retention. However, as undergraduate STEM enrollment continues to increase, faculty-student mentorship at large, public universities is not a scalable approach. Here we describe the positive impacts of near-peer mentorship approaches which leverage upper-division biology students to provide support to first- and second-year majors at the University of California.

Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez and Dr. Mike Wilton Flyer
Portrait of Dr. Carl Wieman

Achieving Institutional Change in Teaching Practices

Dr. Carl Wieman
Nobel Prize Laureate, Physics (2001)
Stanford University

Friday, November 3, 2023

Location: 3201 Tata Hall, Kavli Auditorium or Zoom

Zoom Meeting ID: 951 7535 7612

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Dr. Carl Wieman Flyer
Portrait of Keefe Reuther, Melinda Owens, Justin Meyer

Navigating a Changing Teaching Landscape: Approaches and Advice From BioSci Faculty

Keefe Reuther, Melinda Owens, Justin Meyer

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Location: Muir Biology Building, Room 1138

9:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Melinda Owens and Justin Meyer will share approaches and perspectives from flipping their courses in fall 2023. Keefe Reuther will guide you through step by step workflow to quickly modify and generate assessment questions that can easily be uploaded to Canvas.

Dr. Carl Wieman Flyer