TEACHING

I have found throughout my teaching career, the most motivated and successful students are often the most curious students. Therefore, as a professor, I consider it extremely important to cultivate curiosity through my instructional approach. I achieve a curious classroom environment in a few ways. One way is that I begin all classes by encouraging students to ask questions and welcome them as they arise. I also pre-plan specific higher order thinking questions and facilitate rigorous discussions in every class, which leads to critical thinking about the concepts being discussed and promotes problem-solving. This interactive approach is key to my teaching methodology not only because it establishes greater understanding on the part of the students, but also lends to class participation in such a way that this curiosity becomes contagious, creating a cascade of interest that encourages even the most reticent students to participate.

One of my main goals as a professor is to build, not only scientific understanding but academic and personal empowerment for everyone I teach. I encourage a wide range of viewpoints and strive to create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable and equal in the class setting, campus and beyond. I provide opportunities for students to learn from each other’s own diverse experience through lab work, and group projects in almost every class.

Experience

University at Albany: Intorductory Genetics (2020)

  • Currently teaching a lecture section for biology majors with over 200 students emphasizing the principles and mechanisms of inheritance. Topics include DNA structure and replication; Mendelian genetics and recombination; population, fungal, somatic cell, and bacterial genetics; gene organization; the genetic code; mechanisms of gene expression and regulation; and applications of genetic technology.

  • Meeting with students two times a week to convey processes and concepts utilizing current technology including interactive PPT presentations, animations, and iClickers. Developing homework materials and supervising Teaching Assistants for six discussion sections.

 

University at Albany: Human Genetics (2019)

  • Developed and taught a lecture section with over 70 students emphasizing the principles and mechanisms of inheritance including the analysis of genetic material; the behavior of genes in individuals, families, and populations; and the implications for behavior and evolution, disease, and society.

  • Met with students three times a week to convey processes and concepts utilizing current issues in the literature, presenting on-going research, and facilitating discussions.

 

University at Albany: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Seminar (2019)

  • Co-led the graduate seminar for the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology program, met with students once a week to discuss current issues in the literature, present on-going research, and participate in discussions with professionals in the field.

University at Albany: Biodiversity, Conservation & Policy Seminar (2018)

  • Led the graduate seminar for the Biodiversity, Conservation & Policy M.S. program, met with students once a week to discuss current issues in the literature, present on-going research, and participate in discussions with professionals in the field. Directed a workshop for the application of the R programming language in scientific data analysis.

 

Siena College: Vertebrate Biology Lab (2017 – 2018)

  • Co-developed and taught one vertebrate biology lab section, meeting with students once a week to go over homework questions, review material from the lecture section, reinforce concepts, participate in laboratory exercises, and administer quizzes/exams.

  • Directed a number of field laboratories where students learned techniques for sampling organisms in the wild, as well as field-based data collection and the application of ecological principles.

 

Siena College: Biological Diversity, Field Techniques, and Biology Lab I (2017)

  • Co-taught Biological Diversity and Field Techniques in the Environmental Studies Dept. as well as two undergraduate Bio labs, met with students once a week to participate in lecture and laboratory sections.

  • Developed curriculum and lab activities for courses that met university guidelines for a diverse array of students with various educational backgrounds.

 

The Huyck Preserve & Biological Research Station: Conservation Genetics & Ecology Seminar (2015)

  • Gave two seminars to visiting high school student groups about the use of conservation genetics and ecology in fisheries biology.

  • Directed a number of field demonstrations where students learned techniques for sampling fish in the wild, as well as field-based data collection.

 

University at Albany: General Biology Labs I & II (2013 – 2014)

  • Taught two general biology labs, met with students once a week to go over homework questions, review material from the lecture section, reinforce concepts, participate in laboratory exercises, and administer quizzes/exams.

  • Coordinated with Lab Director to ensure curriculum and course material meet university guidelines.

 

University at Albany: Undergraduate Genetics Discussion (2013)

  • Taught a discussion course in conjugation with lecture section, meeting with students once a week to go over homework questions, administer quizzes, review material from the lecture section, and reinforce concepts.

  • Coordinated with Department Chair to ensure curriculum and course material met university guidelines.

State University of New York at Albany

© 2019 by Spencer A Bruce

Fisheries research photos courtesy of Mike Lynch: www.mikelynchphotos.com

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