Welcome to the website for the UCSD STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) Education & Diversity Discussion Group!

This discussion group is composed of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty in the UCSD community with an interest in STEM education.  Our discussions focus on science education pedagogy, mentoring, and policy with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. 

We meet once a month for ~1 hr to discuss items of interest to the group selected by a rotating Discussion Moderator.  These items can include, but don’t have to be limited to, research studies, essays, seminar/meeting review, news articles, websites and audiovisual media such as podcasts.  Inviting a guest to speak on a particular topic is also encouraged!  See Moderator Roles for more details. 

We welcome the involvement of all those who are interested!

Latest Post

  • August 2017 - Dr. Marie McMahon Round Table - Teaching at a Community College
    Below are my notes from our round table discussion with Dr. Marie McMahon, full-time anatomy and physiology professor at Miramar College:

    Notes from Dr. Marie McMahon round-table discussion


    Resources mentioned:


    1.     SDICCCA Internship (San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association) – shadow a community college professor and network with San Diego community colleges. https://interwork.sdsu.edu/main/sdiccca 

    2.     Tour Miramar College with Marie McMahon – a tour’s being organizing for the fall and we’ll be sending out an email with more information.

    3.     Contact Marie McMahon! She replies to every email she gets and you can find her contact info on her website. http://faculty.sdmiramar.edu/faculty/sdccd/mmcmahon/


    Marie’s introduction:


    Marie McMahon told us a bit about her path to becoming a community college professor. She started at Pasadena Community College, transferred to a university in Australia, and then came back to the U.S. for her graduate work. She worked for 2.5 years as part-time community college faculty here in San Diego and then about 16 years ago got a full-time position teaching anatomy and physiology at Miramar College. She’s been there since and is currently serving as Academic Senate President.


    Round table discussion questions and answers (I’ve included what I took notes on):


    Q: What’s unique to teaching at a community college?


    A: You teach students of all ages, motivation, and preparedness. 18 yr., right out of high school, up to 40+ yr. professionals who know more than you do.


    Q: How do you learn to teach?


    A: Dive in, use a textbook, she’s developed a curriculum over time. Shadow a current professor. (Consider applying for the SDICCCA internship.)


    Q: How did she make the transition from part-time adjunct to full-time tenured professor?


    A: She worked 4 adjunct positions simultaneously for 2.5 years before applying for and receiving a full-time position. Tenure takes 4 years at a community college.


    Q: Advice for getting a full-time position today?


    A: Network, hustle, work several jobs, be good at what you do. Apply when a position opens even if you don’t feel ready. Contact the department chair for the subject you’re interested in teaching. Department chairs recommend hires to the college dean.


    Q: What qualities are community colleges looking for when they hire teachers?


    A: Compassion, persistence, connecting with students, genuine


    Q: What percent of faculty are part-time vs. full time at community colleges?


    A: 75% part-time, 25% full-time


    Q: Advice for getting a teaching job right after graduation?


    A: Contact department chairs at the different schools (Mesa, City, Miramar, etc.) to set up an informational interview/casual interview. When one San Diego community college is looking to hire, they ask all the San Diego department chairs for recommendations.


    Q: What is asked in an interview for a position at a community college?


    A: What’s your teaching pedagogy / teaching philosophy? What’s your understanding of a community college? (Your answer shouldn’t be that teaching at a community college is easy, that the students don’t know anything, etc.) Some interviews will have you do a short teaching demonstration.


    Q: What’s the class load like as a full-time community college professor?


    A: “1.0 load.” Classroom responsibilities (teach 2 anatomy sections + open lab) and participate on committees. No research required.


    Q: What’s a typical day like for you?


    A: 8:00am-12:15pm – teach anatomy lab. Afternoon – Governance roles (Marie currently has a full-time academic senate position), prepare quizzes, grade (she does all her own grading, which takes a lot of time), attend meetings, respond to emails.


    Q: Example of classroom practices?


    A: Ice breaker game: “Discover the Syllabus.” Students get into groups themselves and fill out a 2-page worksheet with get-to-know-you questions and questions about the syllabus, i.e. ‘What’s the significance of February 3rd?’ Students hand in the worksheet for points.  Doing the activity improves the mood/community of the classroom.


    Q: Specific advice for getting community college teaching experience while in graduate school?


    A: Start by teaching 1 lab course. Lab courses take less time and preparation than lecture courses and you may be able to be mentored by the faculty teaching the lecture part of that course.

    Posted Aug 15, 2017, 1:24 PM by Amelia Richardson
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May 5, 2017 Antonia Darragh 11am-12pm Women's Center. Workshop - Updating list of resources for STEM Education & Diversity 
June 2, 2017 Amelia Richardson 11am-12pm Women's Center - Fnalizing list of resources for STEM Education & Diversity 
July 7, 2017 Jenny Xu Journal article discussion 
August 4, 2017 Dr. Marie McMahon (Guest Speaker, Miramar Community College) "Teaching at a Community College" 
September 1, 2017 Stanley Lo (Guest Speaker, UCSD) STEM Education Research at UCSD 
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Board of Directors

For questions about the organization of the group, please contact a member of the board of directors:

Antonia Darragh - New Members (E-mail list and Web Site Access)adarragh@ucsd.edu
Jen Hazen - Public Relations - jennifer.hazen@gmail.edu
Katie Petrie - Room Scheduling and website maintenance -kpetrie@ucsd.edu
Amelia Richardson - Moderator Reminder & Scheduling - akrichar@ucsd.edu