RADNOR, Pa. (Sept. 3, 2010) — Dr. David Dunbar, associate professor of biology at Cabrini College, is one of five professors nationwide chosen to help improve the way college students learn biology. This is the second year in a row that Dr. Dunbar has been selected to participate in an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Biology Scholars Program.
Through the prestigious, yearlong 2010 ASM Biology Scholars Program Transitions Residency, Scholars will work to develop and test innovative teaching techniques using evidence-based assessment strategies to show student learning. The residency also offers the opportunity for Scholars to transition from conducting scholarly work to publishing in print and electronic biology and science education venues.
“Scholars are expected to push the boundaries on how and why students learn,” said Dr. Dunbar. “We also will take leading roles with national organizations we are affiliated with to mentor other faculty in the scholarship of teaching and learning.”
The professors kicked off their residencies this summer with the intensive “Science Education Research to Publication Institute” in Washington, D.C. There, residency leaders from Brown and Virginia Tech universities helped Scholars navigate the researching and publishing process, including indentifying characteristics that are attractive to publishers, developing manuscripts, and identifying appropriate venues for publication.
The Biology Scholars Program is sponsored by ASM with support from the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science BioSciEdNet Collaborative. Other scholars named represent the State University of New York-Adirondack, Salem State College, James Madison University, and the University of Missouri.
In 2009, Dr. Dunbar was one of 20 scientists nationwide selected to the ASM and NSF Biology Scholars Program to complete a yearlong research residency to improve undergraduate biology education. This residency allowed Dr. Dunbar to develop non-lecture based course delivery methods that he has incorporated into his teaching at Cabrini, including leading students in stream-based, community research experiments as part of the Crabby Creek Stream Monitoring Project, and overseeing student research in an honors biology course that he helped develop.
The honors biology course is built around a national experiment in genomics, and was made possible by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) 2009 Science Education Alliance. With funding from the NSF and the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Dunbar co-directs the Collaborative Research-Watershed Citizenship Learning Community, which promotes, practices and educates on water management in Valley Creek and its major tributaries.
This past summer, Dr. Dunbar and fellow Cabrini faculty member Dr. Melinda Harrison helped design science lessons and tested experiments at the HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va. Dr. Dunbar and Dr. Harrison worked through the Science Education Alliance in developing college courses in molecular biology and biochemistry focusing on the genetics and structure/function of mycobacteriophage proteins.
Dr. Dunbar joined the Cabrini faculty in 2001. He has published pedagogical work in the Journal of College Science Teaching, and his students have presented at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, the National Council on Undergraduate Research Symposium, and at the nation’s Capitol Building for the Council on Undergraduate Research’s “Posters on the Hill.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lycoming College, a doctorate in molecular biology from Lehigh University, and completed post-doctoral training at the Yale School in Medicine.