Preparation for first-time tas 

GRS 097: Fundamentals for Teaching Assistants                           Fall 2017

Meeting time to be determined. CNS has partnered with the Graduate School and the Faculty Innovation Center (FIC) to develop this course to support Teaching Assistants who will be leading a lab or discussion section for the first time. In this research-based seminar on pedagogy, graduate students will learn strategies for effectively leading lab/discussion sections, and will receive personalized support and feedback designed to improve their confidence and skills as instructors. Matthew Landry, a PhD student in Nutritional Sciences who has completed GRS 097, NSC 088L, and NSC 088T, will lead this class; Dr. Molly Hatcher of the FIC will serve as its instructor of record.

Prerequisites: none. 

Any CNS graduate student in their first year of leading a lab/discussion session in Fall 2017 can apply for this course by completing the survey here. Applications are due by August 25.


Concentration in Teaching and Mentoring 

NSC 088L: Intro to Evidence Based Teaching                                Fall 2017

T 5:00-6:30pm. This seminar is designed for graduate students (and postdocs) interested in learning how to teach science effectively in their own courses rather than as teaching assistants. Topics include defining learning objectives, designing learning tasks, observing classrooms to identify effective teaching strategies, and practice teaching. Participants will also develop familiarity with research on science teaching and learning, including how and why to lead class discussions, structure group work, engage students with different levels of preparation and motivation, and promote equity in the classroom. No pre-requisites.


NSC 088T: Mentored Teaching Experience                                 Spring 2018

No meeting time assigned. In this seminar, graduate students and postdocs who have completed Introduction to Evidence-based Teaching or the equivalent will design, teach, and conduct assessment of an instructional unit (~3 hours of class time) in an undergraduate CNS course. The process will be accomplished in collaboration with a faculty member currently teaching the course, with guidance and mentorship from an education specialist in TIDES. Total time commitment is ~15 hours, which is scheduled on an ad hoc basis over a semester. This time commitment includes designing and planning instruction, practice teaching, formal classroom instruction, informal student interaction, and student assessment. NSC 088L – Introduction to Evidence-based Teaching is a prerequisite for this seminar.


NSC 088M: Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers                    Spring 2018

Meeting times to be arranged. This seminar aims to develop graduate students’ and postdocs' skills in mentoring undergraduates and other junior researchers in doing STEM research. The course will involve discussions about how to define appropriate projects, establish relationships, set expectations, encourage communication, balance guidance and independence, and consider ethical issues and diversity in mentoring. No pre-requisites.

Concentration in Communicating Science

CMS 081: Science Communication Seminar                                Spring 2018

Meeting time to be determined. This seminar course is a professional development elective within the CNS Concentration in Communicating Science.  Students may take this course alone or in conjunction with the Practicum described below. Taught by Anthony Dudo from the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations in the Moody College of Communication, this seminar course will introduce students to topics chosen from the following: 

  • Models of “public engagement with science” (deficit model, contextual model, public participation model)
  • Public understanding of science, science literacy, and trust in science
  • Sources of information about science (journalism, entertainment media, social media)
  • Motivations and barriers to scientist communicators
  • Communicating science strategically (choosing communication goals and styles, working with media/public information officers)
  • Science communication case studies (climate change, genetic engineering) 
  • No prerequisites.

    CMS 081: Science Communication Practicum                            Spring 2018

    Meeting time to be determined. This is a lab that may be taken concurrently with the Science Communication Seminar described above.  The practicum will provide interested students with opportunities to focus on skill development while receiving constructive assessment and evaluation. Students will focus on topics chosen from the following: 

  • Functions of communication (inform, persuade, express, etc.)
  • Persuasion strategies (pilot testing with audiences, creating, implementing and monitoring communication campaigns, assessing outcomes)
  • Source variables (factors that affect credibility; evaluating legitimacy)
  • Format (public speaking, interviewing, digital presentations)
  • Presentation skills (written, oral, communicating to large/small groups)
  • Ethics (media and communication ethics, legal issues) 
  • Prerequisite: current or prior enrollment in the Science Communication Seminar.


    Concentration in Leadership and Project Management

    MAN 390: Leading People and Organizations                             Spring 2018

    Meets Tuesday evenings, 5:00-8:00, in GSB 5.142A. This course is a professional development elective within the CNS Concentration in Leadership and Project Management. Taught by Caroline Bartel from the Department of Management in the McCombs College of Business, this is a special section of a McCombs MBA course tailored for graduate students in STEM disciplines. This course will develop the knowledge and skills necessary for scientists to manage and lead effectively within organizations. Students may take this class on either a C/NC (low workload) or a full credit (higher workload) basis.

    Prerequisites: none. 

    Further topics in this concentration will be piloted in the 2018-19 academic year.