Erin Dolan has been appointed the first Executive Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES), a newly formed institute for education innovation in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at The University of Texas at Austin. The institute was proposed in the CNS 2013 Strategic Plan as a way to enhance the college’s leading role in STEM education.
Dolan, formerly an associate professor at the University of Georgia, studies science research as a context for teaching, learning, and mentoring. Dolan coordinates a national network of people and programs creating and assessing course-based undergraduate research experiences in biology, called CUREnet. At the University of Georgia, she managed two programs that establish research collaborations among biology students, their teachers, and research scientists to study gene function in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. She is also editor-in-chief of CBE-Life Science Education, an online journal that has been recognized for making education research accessible to scientific audiences.
“I am delighted that Erin will help transform the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science from a good idea on paper to a very real and influential catalyst for innovation,” said Linda Hicke, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “She has exactly the right combination of experience and passion for this new role.”
Beginning in May, Dolan will oversee the College of Natural Sciences’ Freshman Research Initiative and Educational Innovations initiative, as well as develop the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science.
Among other things, the new institute will facilitate the development of novel teaching methods and experimental programs, extend the college’s focus on undergraduate research, develop a training program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to become outstanding future educators, expand career services for students and postdoctoral fellows and develop a faculty-led program that encourages student entrepreneurial activities.
According to the CNS 2013 Strategic Plan, the institute will "serve as a central focus for STEM education and showcase our commitment to communicating science throughout the university and beyond.”