A short Teaching Residency Spanning 1,657 Miles

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Michèle Shuster
Karen Peterson


In scientific disciplines, most postdoctoral fellowships focus on research training. Postdoctoral fellows (“postdocs”) develop research expertise and research projects that they will use in future independent faculty positions. This research focus often precludes opportunities for undergraduate teaching. However, most academic faculty positions require faculty to teach at the undergraduate level. The result is that many postdocs are exceptionally well-qualified to meet the research expectations of future faculty positions, but lack experience and training in innovative and evidence-based undergraduate teaching strategies. Training in evidence-based teaching approaches can result in two tangible outcomes. First, the quality of applications by the postdocs for tenure-track faculty positions at institutions with substantive teaching expectations can be improved. Second, we can anticipate stronger alignment of teaching and learning expectations between new faculty and their undergraduate students. There are many programs that provide training in teaching to early career researchers. We describe the design and implementation of a mentored teaching experience that faced some unique challenges, including a large geographic distance between the postdocs and the teaching mentor and teaching site. We describe how we addressed the challenges, what the benefits to various stakeholders have been, and the key elements that contributed to the success of the program.

Article Details

How to Cite
Shuster, M., & Peterson, K. (2019). A short Teaching Residency Spanning 1,657 Miles. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 10(1), 78-90. https://doi.org/10.14434/ijdl.v10i1.24916
Author Biographies

Michèle Shuster, New Mexico State University

Michèle Shuster is an Associate Professor in Biology at New Mexico State University. Her work focuses on developing and assessing the impact of innovative curriculum materials for K-16 STEM education.

Karen Peterson, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Karen Peterson is Scientific Ombudsman and Director, Office of Scientific Career Development at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her work focuses on facilitating scientist career success and navigating conflicts for scientists.