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As an educator, I take a learning-centred approach to guide students through course material, and I evaluate my teaching as successful when I have evidence that students are thinking actively and effectively about biological concepts.



Teaching Experience


At the University of Aberdeen, I have participated in the Principles of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education programme, and I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have been a course contributor for Introduction to Ecological and Environmental Modelling, and developed educational software for teaching numerical and individual-based population modelling in ecology. I have also taught a tutorial session of Biology for Undergraduates.

As a PhD student at Iowa State University, I participated in the Preparing Future Faculty program and the Graduate Student Teaching Certificate program. I instructed three semesters of undergraduate Biological Evolution. Two of these three semesters used a distance learning (online) format, in which I developed lectures and course content through Blackboard Learn software. Additionally, I served multiple semesters as a teaching assistant for Biological Evolution, and as a teaching assistant for Introductory Biology.

Teaching Philosophy (abbreviated)


To teach effectively, I believe that it is necessary to understand how people learn. Learning is a biological process that happens in the brain. When we learn, we are connecting new ideas to ones with which we are already familiar. This process requires that students think actively. As such, to maximise the amount of learning in a classroom, I use teaching techniques designed to maximise student thinking about biological concepts, building upon their knowledge from prior education and their individual life experiences. Thinking is done individually, so each individual is ultimately responsible for their own learning, but the conditions for new learning can be facilitated by social interactions and a positive learning environment.

I believe that education is a life-long process of learning in which we continually build upon, clarify, and revise knowledge and conceptual models. To become successful in our learning goals, we must be willing to confront our conceptual limitations in order to move beyond them. This requires a dynamic view of human intelligence and potential. As instructors and students, we can make ourselves more intelligent, more skilled, and more creative through our continued education. For me, as an educator, this process is exciting, of critical importance, and deserving of hard work and enthusiasm.

Effective teaching requires transparency between students and instructors, and students will be more willing to participate in learning activities when they understand how these activities will help them accomplish learner outcomes. Learner outcomes form the foundation of my course instruction, and I strive to make each outcome relevant, specific, and verifiable to my students and to me. This requires that course content be carefully selected and thoughtfully presented.