PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century

Thomas C. Peeler

F21 Class of 1994 Statements Revisited

Tom Peeler is Associate Professor of Biology at Susquehanna University.

Question: What are the current challenges you are facing in your professional life?

Answer:

  • Finding ways to convey the relevance and excitement of current research in biology to classes of both majors and nonmajors.
  • Keeping up with the advances in molecular biology/genomics.
  • Engaging students in research projects that are meaningful and appropriate in an undergraduate setting.
  • Balancing the time required to maintain a strong teaching program, an ongoing research program, and still be a contributing member to the governance/leadership of the university.
  • Obtaining adequate funding to purchase equipment and supplies to improve teaching and learning at Susquehanna University.

Question: What do you view as your most promising options and opportunities for the future?

Answer: Taking advantage of the enthusiasm and initiative of undergraduate biology majors and nonmajors at Susquehanna to enrich and improve both my teaching and my research. Developing a collaborative program between several institutions in our region (academic and medical) to enhance student learning at Susquehanna. .

Question: What will undergraduate STEM be like in 2016, given the urgency of new challenges and opportunities facing our nation?

Answer: In the area of cell and molecular biology, undergraduate curricula in 2016 will need to address the sheer volume of information that will be available online. Students will need to be able to efficiently search databases, and determine the value of the information. The ability to critically evaluate journal articles will also be more important due to an increase in the number of journals published online. Undergraduate STEM education will need to become more active to reach students who increasingly question the relevance of their courses, and who look at the world with a more short-term perspective. Finally, the ability to collaborate effectively will be important in a world where many laboratory tasks will be outsourced to others that can do the job more cheaply and accurately. The STEM community will be truly global, and knowledge and appreciation of other cultures will be essential.