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Higher Education and Teaching

The Higher Education and Teaching Pathway will provide opportunities for PhD Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Affiliates to enhance and develop their skills to more effectively teach science in the classroom, whether that classroom is at a research-intensive institute (R1) or a primarily undergraduate institute (PUI). At R1s, cutting-edge research is the name of the game, and investigators work to obtain funding to conduct research, with teaching considered a secondary duty of the faculty (ref 1). PUIs may still conduct research with undergraduate students and obtain funding to support those research efforts, but a greater emphasis is placed on teaching. PUIs that you might be familiar with would be small liberal arts colleges, small regional universities, and community colleges. Although all these careers are considered academia, expectations regarding responsibilities – teaching, research and service – at each academic organization will be quite different, and the faculty hiring process will reflect those differences. Ideally, during your graduate and postdoctoral training, you should develop a teaching trajectory that would best align with the institution(s) at which you are most interested in establishing a position (ref 2).

The URBEST Pathway will help to provide resources, skills and partnerships for each trainee to become proficient at sharing their research and knowledge of science in an educational setting in whatever arena they choose. Pathways within higher education do not only include opportunities for tenure-track professor positions, but also non-tenure track teaching-focused positions. Other teaching venues besides R1s and PUIs include K-12 education, museums and zoos. The Teaching Pathway will provide foundational skills and experiences for trainees interested in more effectively teaching their science and/or exploring careers in education. The pathway will be directed by Dr. Jenny Hadingham, Assistant Director & Lecturer at Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL). 

Explore the Teaching Pathway

Teaching Science at the UR

If you are a new to teaching or would like to fine-tune your teaching skills, you may be interested in workshops led by the CETL. You are also welcome to make use of CETL’s individualized consultation services and online teaching resources. Places to start are CETL’s primers for classroom TAslaboratory TAs, and instructors.

Teaching Opportunities Outside the UR

For opportunities outside UR, educate yourself on the number of higher education institutions within the Rochester Area Colleges consortium, including Alfred State College, Alfred University, Corning Community College, Empire State College, Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College, Hobart and William Smith College, Houghton College, Keuka College, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College. St. Bonaventure University, SUNY College at Brockport, SUNY College at Geneseo and Wells College. UR is also part of the consortium.  You might also consider visiting an academic organization within the BEST consortium.

Contact local colleges or your alma mater and offer to present a seminar of your research, and then make the time to do it. 

There is never a good time in your schedule to do this, but the practice is invaluable and most colleges would be happy to have a free seminar speaker. While there, show them your CV, teaching philosophy, and research interests. Ask for constructive criticism and suggestions for your job search (ref 3).

Develop your ~1.5 page teaching statement and philosophy.

The document is used to explain your desire to teach, what courses you could teach, what teaching goals you might have, what constitutes good teaching, and what you might do in the lab sections. When possible, support your statements with specific examples of what you have done or what you intend to do. A good online resource to help you get started can be found at Princeton’s McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning. For assistance and feedback please contact or

Consider preparing a ~1.5 page PUI research statement.

There are three areas of particular importance to cover: the nature of your research, undergraduate student involvement, and the potential of funding your research. Please be mindful that your audience may include a variety of scientists and that research conducted at an R1 institution must be rethought and remarketed for inclusion at a PUI as fairly inexpensive, short-term research projects with inexperienced undergraduates. A good online resource to help you get started is an article by Professor Gillmore at the American Chemical Society’s Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholars Bulletin. For assistance and feedback please contact or

Complete the Foundations in Teaching Program or the Advanced Teaching Program offered by UR’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Graduate students and postdoctoral affiliates who complete the requirements for either (or both) will receive a notation on their transcript recognizing completion of the particular teaching program. All participants will receive a certificate of completion upon meeting the requirements for the different programs. Program details can be found at CETL. To enroll in the program, please apply though surveymonkey. There are no deadlines; you can apply throughout the year.

Train at an Informal Science Education Workshop (ISE) led by the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

The workshop will help attendees become familiar with the concept of ISE, the education that happens in informal settings like museums, magazines and TV shows. The workshop is based on the approaches and trainings developed by the Portal to the Public (PoP) network, an NSF-funded initiative from the Pacific Science Center to help connect public audiences with the science happening in their communities. The interactive two-hour workshop will be led by Kara Verno, Program Supervisor at the RMSC. Kara specializes in helping scientists find their creative voice and find effective ways to describe their research to broad audiences. If you are interested in RMSC volunteer opportunities, such as Science Alive, this workshop is mandatory for you. The annual workshop takes place in December. For more in formation please contact Kara Verno or Liz Albertorio-Saez

Work with the Department of Biomedical Genetics to help teach stem-cell biology in a high school setting at Honeoye Falls High School.

This internship opportunity will place candidates in a high school classroom, providing a unique opportunity to experience first hand the challenges and rewards of teaching stem cell biology to juniors and seniors. Working closely with the school standards leader and accredited advanced placement (AP) instructors, candidates will develop and then teach a series of AP Biology classes with the purpose of introducing key concepts in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. The internship will take place in three phases: (1) preparation of content and lesson plan, (2) in class participation and teaching and (3) collect and analyze measures of stem cell awareness and specific learning objectives. Before you are eligible to be considered as a candidate for a stem-cell secondary education instructor, you must complete CETL’s Foundations in Teaching Program and apply for a URBEST internship. For more information about the program contact Drs. Chris Proschel or Margot Mayer-Proschel.

Become a member of The Soci­ety for Col­lege Sci­ence Teach­ers and present at their National Meeting.

The Society for College Science Teachers is the only inter­dis­ci­pli­nary affil­i­ate of the National Science Teachers Association that is ded­icated solely to the study and advance­ment of col­lege sci­ence teach­ing. They are a ded­i­cated com­mu­nity of col­lege and uni­ver­sity teach­ing schol­ars work­ing to enhance sci­ence edu­ca­tion through devel­op­ment and test­ing of best class­room teach­ing practices.

Apply to the UR’s Teaching-As-Research (TAR) Program.

The program ( involves the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of students and teachers. Graduate students and post-docs can apply to participate in the TAR Fellows program and use similar research methods as they do in their biomedical training to undertake research about any aspect of their teaching. Their findings can be applied to the improvement and adaptation of their teaching for the benefit of their students. Applications open each October and close each December. For more information, contact

Attend a Future Faculty Enrichment Workshop sponsored by the Provost and Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.

The series of workshops is designed to provide doctoral students and post-docs interested in a faculty career with valuable information and insights about aspects of a faculty role that are not part of the traditional curriculum, including such issues as teaching, mentoring students, and diversity. For more information contact

Join the UR’s Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL)-based Learning Community.

The community meets once a week, every Wednesday afternoon between 4 – 5 pm in Dewey 2-110C, for lively discussions and activities centered around that week’s course material. The course material is shared through a MOOC (massive open online course). If you are interested in participating, please contact

Outline a teaching portfolio or perfect your teaching statement at a workshop led by Dr. Jenny Hadingham.

While dissertation abstracts and research summaries document your expertise in research, the teaching portfolio documents your expertise in teaching. If you are a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow preparing a teaching portfolio for the academic job market, the portfolio will necessarily be both forward- and backward-looking, with examples drawn from courses you have taught or assisted in and from courses you are prepared to teach in the future. Many job applications for positions at R1 and teaching-oriented institutions ask for a Teaching Statement, an individual narrative that includes not only one’s beliefs about the teaching and learning process, but also concrete examples of the ways to enacts these beliefs in the classroom. Learn what search committees are looking for and how to write it. (Workshop in development for 2016)

Attend a course on the topic – or even a lecture or two.

Science Communication for Diverse Audiences (MBI 492) with Dina Markowitz, PhD and Madeline Sofia MS.

The course offers a hands-on based approach to improve science communication skills. Students will have the opportunity to work in small groups to learn basic presentation skills, distill their scientific message for a multitude of audiences, and become more comfortable presenting in front of groups. We will focus on improving communication with both scientific and non-scientific audiences.  This course integrates some of the newest training techniques in the field including improv and story telling, which serve to help scientists better connect to audiences in the moment. The course will also offer brief sections on writing for non-scientific audiences. Participants should come ready to step outside of their comfort zone and dive into a variety of different training techniques from week to week.

Effective Scientific Communication (PHP 405) with Angela Glading, PhD.

This elective course is aimed at introducing the principles of scientific communication to the first- or second-year graduate student.  Course content will focus on 1) developing the students’ ability to understand and critically evaluate current literature, 2) teaching students to become more effective writers, and 3) developing students’ ability to deliver coherent, engaging and focused oral presentations. Students will engage the material through practical examples and exercises.

Integrating Science and Technology (EDU 486)

Prepares secondary science teachers to effectively use technology to enhance science instruction, while furthering their understanding of fundamental ideas and concepts in science. Examines educational technology as a teaching and learning tool in science instruction and the ways in which technology may affect instructional goals and teaching practices in science education.

Theory & Practice in Teaching & Learning Science (EDU 434)

Prepares teachers to make the learning of science more meaningful and accessible to ALL students in secondary school. Examines the key questions of what should be taught, why and how, in the secondary school science curriculum, in light of relevant research on the learning and teaching of science, state and national standards, and promising practices.

Implementing Innovation in Science Education (EDU 448)

Supports teachers in putting into practice what they learned in EDU 434 to enhance their understanding of key issues in the teaching and learning of science. Introduces and critically examines innovative teaching methods, curricula, and resources to support the teaching of science, consistent with state and national standards.


(1)   Teaching at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, Graham Peaslee, American Chemical Society Graduate & Postdoc Magazine.

(2)   Careers in Virology: Teaching at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, David B Kushner, J. Virol. 2014 Oct; 88(19): 11004- 11006

(3)   How to Get a Teaching Job at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, Malcolm Campbell, Omar Quintero, and Jennifer Frederick, American Society for Cell Biology.