Role of Teaching in the Discipline of Biology and Biomedical Sciences
Effective communication of
information and concepts is a critical skill for biomedical research
scientists. While much of the teaching that scientists engage in is through
one-on-one interactions with individuals in the laboratory, all scientists must
be able to deliver lectures to a wide audience (from peers in the field to
neophytes with a limited understanding of the nuances of the topic), and
scientists in faculty positions will often teach courses to undergraduate and
graduate students. Therefore, DBBS students must demonstrate the ability to
effectively communicate complex ideas and concepts to groups of individuals at
various levels of understanding.
Prior to beginning their Mentored
Teaching Experience, DBBS students will be required to complete the Graduate
Student Teaching Orientation and a minimum of three 90-minute teaching
workshops, each covering a different topic, offered by the Teaching Center.
Individualized instruction and mentoring will be provided by the course master
of the class they have been assigned to. The course master will provide
feedback throughout the semester, and will complete an evaluation upon the
completion of the Mentored Teaching Experience. If the course master determines
that the student’s facility with essential teaching skills is unsatisfactory,
the student will be counseled by the course master and the Associate Dean of
Graduate Education, and will complete another Mentored Teaching Experience to
attain mastery of these skills.
Sequence of Teaching Opportunities for PhD
Teaching experience will consist
of two components: basic and advanced. In the basic component, the DBBS student
will serve as a mentored Assistant in Instruction (AI) in a course designated
by the Associate Dean. The mentored teaching training must incorporate at least
one of the following activities: delivering lectures, leading lab
demonstrations, or conducting review sessions for groups of students. (Grading
exams or papers, holding office hours, one-on-one tutoring, etc., may also be
components of the teaching experience, but they are not sufficient to meet the
DBBS teaching training requirement.) Mentored
teaching opportunities will be reviewed annually to ensure that the experience
meets the requirements established in this policy.
To complete the
basic MTE, students are required to:
- Register for LGS 600 Mentored Teaching Experience in
- Attend the University’s Orientation for the
Mentored Teaching Experience.
- Read the Graduate School's Mentored
Teaching Experience Handbook (received at orientation).
three 90-minute workshops on different topics, offered by the WUSTL
Teaching Center -- The Teaching Center's Foundations in Teaching Workshops have been
designed with the MTE training requirement in mind.
- Meet the expectations of the course director for the
- Complete a written self-evaluation of the MTE.
Students who receive an
unsatisfactory grade for any reason will be required to repeat MTE
One semester of basic MTE is required, but students may
participate in up to a maximum of three semesters if they request additional
learning experiences as an AI in an effort to enhance their professional
portfolio and teaching skills. Students can earn a Teaching Citation for completing
three semesters of teaching. Students should enroll in LGS 600 each semester
when they are fulfilling the basic MTE requirement (amended, September 2020).
The advanced component consists
of presenting ideas and concepts to groups of individuals who are not
necessarily expert in the student’s particular research niche. DBBS students
will satisfy this component by presenting papers at journal clubs and
delivering talks at scientific meetings, conferences and retreats. The
trainee’s thesis mentor will provide guidance and feedback to trainees engaged
in the advanced component. (This requirement will not be satisfied by
presenting one’s work at lab meetings, thesis update meetings, or at the thesis