MCDB majors who are interested in education, either as a profession, or just because they like teaching, have several opportunities in the MCDB department that give students direct teaching experience.
The Learning Assistant Program
Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduates hired to facilitate learning, usually in a small group setting, primarily in introductory science and math classes across the CU campus. LAs are students who have performed well in a course that uses LAs, and have a strong interest in teaching. They are paid a modest stipend (~$1,500/semester) to work ~10 hours per week, and are also required to take a course in pedagogy in the School of Education. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more through teaching, or interested in teaching as a profession.
Talented students who have done well in MCDB Lab courses can apply to become a lab assistant for the course. Lab assistants work with TAs and instructors to mentor students in the lab courses they have taken and learn pedagogical techniques in an associated class. Lab assistants earn 2 upper division MCDB credits. For more information about becoming a lab assistant, please contact the instructor for each lab.
Undergraduate Teaching Assistants for MCDB Courses
Talented undergraduates who have done well in MCDB courses can apply for teaching assistant positions for MCDB 1150, MCDB 2150 (with associated labs MCDB 1161, 1171 and 2171) and MCDB 3135/3140. Teaching assistants teach and grade the laboratory portion of the class, attend lecture, hold office hours, attend a weekly TA meeting, and proctor and grade exams. A strong applicant will have experience being a Learning Assistant for a lecture course and a Lab Assistant for a lab course and earned at least a B in the course for which they would like to TA. For more information about becoming a TA, please contact the instructor for each lab.
CU Teach is a recruitment and training program for Science and Math teacher certification. Students can take introduction to teaching courses (called Step 1 and Step 2) through CU Teach to decide if they are interested before officially enrolling in the CU Teach program.
MCDB is transforming education.
Not only are the MCDB faculty world-class researchers, they also care about educating undergraduates!
MCDB courses, both introductory and upper division, use a variety of active learning approaches to help students connect with the material at a conceptual level, rather than just memorizing facts.
Research into Teaching
Several MCDB faculty specifically engage in research about how students learn biology, and how to improve this learning (Jenny Knight and Mike Klymkowsky).