Higher education is a strange beast. Teaching is a critical skill for scientists in academia, yet one that is barely touched upon in their professional training—despite being a substantial part of their career. This book is a practical guide for anyone teaching STEM-related academic disciplines at the college level, from graduate students teaching lab sections and newly appointed faculty to well-seasoned professors in want of fresh ideas. Terry McGlynn’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach avoids off-putting pedagogical jargon and enables instructors to become true ambassadors for science.
For years, McGlynn has been addressing the need for practical and accessible advice for college science teachers through his popular blog
Small Pond Science. Now he has gathered this advice as an easy read—one that can be ingested and put to use on short deadline. Readers will learn about topics ranging from creating a syllabus and developing grading rubrics to mastering learning management systems and ensuring safety during lab and fieldwork. The book also offers advice on cultivating productive relationships with students, teaching assistants, and colleagues.
Terry McGlynn is professor of biology at California State University Dominguez Hills and research associate in the Department of Entomology in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He is the author of the academic blog
Small Pond Science and is a regular contributor to the
Chronicle of Higher Education.
Many of us find ourselves in front of a university classroom with little formal training in how to be effective instructors or how to mentor diverse populations of undergraduates. McGlynn’s book is the resource so many of us have been waiting for. It is practical, informative, and full of helpful tips. Whether you are new to college instruction or a seasoned professor you are certain to discover tools that will improve your science teaching.
— Corrie Moreau, Professor and Collection Curator, Cornell University Dept. of Entomology
I love field guides. In this useful, interesting book, Terry McGlynn offers a field guide to the wonderful wilds of the classroom. This is the book every aspiring or new instructor should have, but so too seasoned professors. It is extraordinarily useful, but in as much as it draws on insights from a broad range of fields, also fascinating. It will be a classic.
— Rob Dunn, Professor of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University
It is the empathy that McGlynn brings to his subject that sets his book apart, for McGlynn, an experienced professor of Biology, is first and foremost a teacher of empathy in this text, a rare and precious skill. As instructors, we think we already know the nuts and bolts of how to teach a course, but how to structure a classroom such that it may foster the empathy required to promote lasting change? We haven’t thought about this enough, but lucky for us, McGlynn has. Every subject covered within this ‘Practical Guide’ is grounded in McGlynn’s vision of a more equitable and compassionate learning environment and promises deep benefits for students and teachers alike.
— Hope Jahren, Author of Lab Girl and The Story of More