As a faculty member with the educational facilities of the Michael Smith Laboratories, I’m exploring creative ways to get people excited about Science. Inspired by the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith and his commitment to science education, I’m involved in a wide variety of science education and outreach programs that range from teaching and learning initiatives, to high school field trip programs, and to interdisciplinary projects that bridge the Arts and the Sciences.
In my teaching at UBC, I have been involved in creating and developing a new First Year Seminar in Science course, SCIE113. In this writing intensive first year seminar, we encourage students to think critically about questions such as, "What is science?" and "Where does science fit in my life?" Currently, I am coordinating the creation of a new first year science program for UBC Vantage College that integrates Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science and Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences with embedded language learning support for students. I have also contributed to undergraduate teaching in the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology (MICB405: Bioinformatics), for the Faculty of Science (SCIE113:First Year Seminar in Science), in a cross listed courses (PATH547/ BIOL437/ BOTA544/ FRST503/ PLNT540: Laboratory in Molecular Biology), and in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (ASIC200: Global Issues in the Arts and Sciences). I have also lectured in courses from Medical Genetics, Pathology, Food Nutrition and Health, Statistics, and Biology and delivered bioinformatics workshops to various audiences, as part of various graduate programs here at UBC and in the professional development workshops hosted here at the Michael Smith Laboratories.
In addition to teaching in University courses, I’m involved in a wide variety of educational and outreach activities (http://bioteach.ubc.ca). Annually, I organize two major science education outreach conferences at the Michael Smith Laboratories, one aimed at high school teacher professional development and the other for high school students. We also host very popular field trip programs here at the Michael Smith Laboratories, which have garnered a strong reputation for excellence. With our broad mandate of engaging audiences with science, my role at the MSL often involves very creative and collaborative projects. For example, I’m one of four faculty and staff members that make up the leadership team for the Terry* project on campus, a joint initiative of the University of British Columbia’s Faculties of Arts and Science (http://terry.ubc.ca) that aims to engage and educate members of the UBC community (notably undergraduate students) on the pressing global issues of our time. I am also co-lead for the UBC MIX project, a teaching and learning project that aims to create interdisciplinary connections in courses at UBC (http://terry.ubc.ca/mix).
Birol, G, Han A, Welsh, A and Fox, JA*. (2013) Impact of a First Year Seminar in Science on Student Writing and Argumentation. Journal of College Science Teaching 43(1): 82.
Fox JA*, Birol G, Han A, Cassidy A, Welsh A, Nakonechny J, Berger J, Peacock S, Samuels L. Enriching Educational Experiences through UBC’s First Year Seminar in Science (SCIE113). Published online, Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, http://www.stlhe.ca/; Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, in press.
McQueen J, Wright JJ, Fox JA*. (2012) Design and Implementation of a Genomics Field Trip Program Aimed at Secondary Students. PLoS Computational Biology 8(8): e1002636.