PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century
F21 Class of 1994 Statements Revisited
Question: What are the current challenges you are facing in your professional life?
Answer: I am trying to juggle the administrative responsibilities of a non-majors' program that serves 5,000 students a year, teaching non-majors, majors and graduates, and research programs in both behavioral ecology and science pedagogy. Plus writing a textbook on a tight schedule, which is not recognized by CSUF as a scholarly contribution. Although I was brought in at a senior level, I have to go up for tenure next year. Every time life gets more complex, I get more organized and thus more productive, but I wonder how far that can go. I have occasional fantasies about being a housewife, puttering in the garden, baking cookies for my kids, learning to knit... I love my job/career, I can't imagine giving up any part of it, but I think I'd love half of it even more.
Question: What do you view as your most promising options and opportunities for the future?
Answer: See above challenges : ). I have enjoyed the transition from liberal arts to state university for a number of reasons, the main one being that I am having an impact on many students, the majority of whom come from under-represented ethnicities and/or socioeconomic groups. I am excited about the continued opportunities to have a "trickle-down" effect on student learning by helping faculty develop their teaching skills. I am doing this by offering workshops, sharing the science pedagogy literature, teaching a model class that is open to colleagues, and generally creating a supportive community for part-time faculty, who tend to feel isolated and marginalized.
Question: What will undergraduate STEM be like in 2016, given the urgency of new challenges and opportunities facing our nation?
Answer:. I HOPE that all of the technological tools that have the potential to help teaching are being used appropriately and to their fullest potential, eg clickers (my personal favorite), on-line literature and data searching, on-line learning communities. So much that is passed on in lectures now could more effectively and efficiently be learned with appropriate software (ADAM comes to mind here, also the Chem/Math tutorials offered with some Bio textbooks.) I HOPE that this then opens up classroom time for more interactive, responsive, higher-level learning. I FEAR the increasing interference of political ideologues into both science and teaching, as well as the career focus vs. education-for-life focus of many undergraduates and their families. We as a scientific community need to be more outspoken in our defense of pure science and the value of an education.