Rochester Institute of Technology

2012 PKAL Upstate New York Regional Winter Gathering/Planning Meeting

Evidence-based Classroom Practice and Assessment

January 20, 2012
Rochester Institute of Technology
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623

The last decade has seen a revolution in science classroom practice. Activity-based “workshop” environments are becoming prevalent, and even lecture-based courses now regularly incorporate active-engagement methods such as concept and “clicker” questions, peer-discussion, and cooperative-group approaches. Moving forward, the question of systematic assessment now becomes paramount, either as evidence to departments, colleges, or external funding agencies. The first PKAL Upstate New York Regional Gathering focused on the many different approaches we use in the classroom and the methods we use to assess our effectiveness. Bringing everyone together allowed us to share the tools and knowledge we use to develop objective assessments of our activities. Demonstrating effectiveness serves many goals, both personal (tenure, promotion) and larger-scale (dissemination of curricula, getting external funding).

In addition, attendees discussed the potential for the formation of a PKAL Upstate New York STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education network, focused on bringing together faculty in the STEM disciplines to discuss and collaborate on issues of regional relevance related to teaching, learning and leadership. We explored the potential goals, benefits and activities of such a network. Planning is in the works for a future event.


11:30 am-12:00 pm
Participant Registration (SLA- Room 2240)

12:00-12:30 pm
Welcoming Remarks
Susan Elrod, Executive Director, Project Kaleidoscope
Sophia Maggelakis, Dean, Rochester Institute of Technology

12:30-1:30 pm
Lunch & Introductions

1:30-2:00 pm
Plenary Session
Measuring basic genetic understanding and testing the effectiveness of pedagogies on improving student learning
Bethany Bowling, Assistant Professor of Biology, Northern Kentucky University

Abstract: Genetics education spans various levels of education from elementary school to professional education. At the undergraduate level, non-science majors should gain a broad appreciation and understanding of basic genetics principles, but the topic presents some unique challenges, since many students come with misconceptions originating from individual experiences. In this session we will discuss assessment of student learning and the impact of varying pedagogies in non-science major general biology and genetics courses. We will also consider recent data on specific student misconceptions regarding several basic genetics concepts and the testing of conceptual change texts to correct these misconceptions.

2:00-2:45 pm
Plenary Session Discussion
Breakout discussions on journal article by Bethany Bowling et al.: Genetic Literacy of Undergraduate Non–Science Majors and the Impact of Introductory Biology and Genetics Courses

2:45-3:00 pm

3:00-4:00 pm
Workshop on Concept Maps
Thomas Kim, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Rochester Institute of Technology

4:00 - 4:30 pm
Discussion on Assessing Course Curricula
Dina Newman, Assistant Professor of Biology , Rochester Institute of Technology

4:30-5:00 pm
Business Meeting to Review & Evaluate Meeting, Plan Summer Meeting

In the News

Event PowerPoints

Workshop: Concept Maps (Thomas Kim, Rochester Institute of Technology)


If you have inquiries regarding the network, please contact Christina Shute (