Kymberleigh Romano

Teaching ePortfolio


“Teach less, use evidence, be reflective”

Science has always been a central and ever growing part of my life. Ever since I was a little girl, every trip to the beach, every vacation to the southwest, even weekend chores in the garden were all excuses to ask questions and served to enhance my passion for science. My curiosity for the unanswered shaped me into the person that I am today and forged my career goals. As an independent scientific investigator I solve real world problems, be they related to biology or student learning. I demonstrate my dedication to these career goals through a commitment to innovative evidence-based research and teaching that will enhance the experience of all persons in my academic, educational, and physical community.

Foundational tenants of this commitment include:

1. An engine of innovation: Teaching beyond course content

 

Educators have the ability to be agents of rapid change in both the academic domain and community at large. Today, as more apparent then ever, science often competes with the loud voices of the media and politics. The generation of scientifically literate critical thinkers, who can challenge, or minimally refuse to blindly accept, such brash sensationalization requires students to expand past preconceived personal limitations. To do so, students first need to become self-regulated learners, “learning how to learn”, and develop core competencies (i.e. leadership, management, writing, research, and teaching) that can be transferred seamlessly to any future endeavor faced after leaving the classroom. I take the responsibility as an educator in the STEM disciplines to teach these core competencies not in competition with content-based course objectives, but rather in parallel in order to enhance the learning environment and transform my students into informed and productive citizens.

 

2. Students should play an active and pivotal role in their own education

 

Effective teaching is not limited to the strict delivery of information, but rather (i) involves teaching students how to learn, (ii) relies on communication with colleagues, and (iii) is grounded in a personal willingness to change.  As today’s classrooms increase in size and diversity, we as educators are faced with a need for methods to effectively improve learning for all, while simultaneously empowering students as self-regulated learners. Learning is a process that requires students to actively construct new knowledge by setting learning goals, monitoring progress, and making adjustments as needed.

 

While students have been given increased responsibility and autonomy in their learning they have not received the same entitlements in their assessment. Within the realm of higher education assessment can be used “AS” learning, “FOR” learning, or “OF” learning. Assessment “FOR” students foster the development of “learning to learn” principles and promotes an iterative cycle of self-reflection for students as well as instructors resulting in the modification of lecture content and integration of new activities/instructional technique is a “real-time” fashion. By actively and deliberately changing the primary function of assessment in the classroom from being “OF” to “FOR” student learning, we as instructors have the means to better engage students, as well as improve academic gains and student retention overall.

 

3. Learning through and leveraging diversity

 

Diversity is a hallmark of higher education. Creating a rich and equitable campus-learning environment for students that reflects both the diversity of our society and the world beyond requires a collaborative effort by all of those who call the college or university home. In shaping course content in the context of world events and my students’ life experience, student motivation, opportunity to relate to course content, and engagement in course discussion improves. These meaningful contributions can be made into teachable moments emphasizing, to all, the strength of diversity.

 

Taking the time to survey students before the semester begins allows me as an instructor to “hit the ground running” with a thorough knowledge of a cohort’s diversity as well as academic and personal experiences. This knowledge allows for course content to be presented in a context which not only values but recognizes a classes diversity, generating richer conversations that includes everyone’s voice and facilitating more effective discussions.

Ultimately it is important for me to advocate for and mentor my students, being sure my actions align with my words. By teaching in ways that are consistent with how people learn and highlighting the strength of assessment and diversity we can prepare students to solve problems on their own or collaboratively so they too can meaningfully contributions to society.


Please click on the image links below to view more.


https://sites.google.com/site/kymberleighteachingportfolio/home/learning-through-diversity

Learning Through Diversity

https://sites.google.com/site/kymberleighteachingportfolio/home/mentoring-and-outreach

Mentoring and Outreach

https://sites.google.com/site/kymberleighteachingportfolio/home/professional-development-and-scholarship

Professional Development and Scholarship