Future Faculty Fellows Apprenticeship

The Apprenticeship

Since 2004, postdocs from over 30 different UW and FHCRC departments have participated in the Teaching Apprenticeship Program. The postdocs design and teach innovative seminar courses for UW undergraduates. These seminars enrich our undergraduate curriculum and provide opportunities for students to learn about cutting edge research and to benefit from highly interactive discussions with their instructors and peers. Beginning in 2011, courses have been taught at UW Bothell. The Apprenticeship is directed by Rebecca Price and Jeff Jensen.

The Apprenticeship provides teaching experiences for postdocs who have 100% research appointments. The training sessions are highly structured and efficient and introduce state-of-the-art teaching strategies that are effective for students and timesaving for instructors. The apprentices work in teams of three to co-design and co-teach their courses. Each team delivers a 10-week, special topics seminar course at UW Bothell. The program directors observe class meetings and meet regularly with the postdocs to discuss the strengths of their teaching and to brainstorm on strategies to addressing areas that need improvement. Some of the seminars target biology majors, and other seminars are for nonmajors. These program features allow the postdocs to set and meet reasonable training and teaching goals without disrupting their research progress.

In Autumn quarter, the apprentices meet as a group for three 2-hr training and working sessions. The Program Directors, Dr. Becca Price and Dr. Jeff Jensen, provide brief overviews of course design principles then guide the apprentices as they develop their courses, learn about active learning methods, and consider the merits of different types of assignments and grading strategies. Consultants from the UW Center for Teaching and Learning contribute and share their rich collection of teaching and learning resources.

The postdocs teach their courses in Winter or Spring quarter. The Program Directors attend class sessions and provide feedback to the instructor. Peer feedback from co-instructors is an essential component of the Apprenticeship. All of the postdocs come together at the end of the academic year to share experiences and improve their teaching philosophies and dossiers.

Previous seminars

Biological signaling and multicellularity: how organisms form flash mobs, front lines and forearms. Drs. Nathan Ahlgren, Cort Bouldin, Hilario Ramos

The $1000 Genome, Disease and You! Drs. Elaine Frawley, Hayley Mattison, Thomas Stoklasek

The language of cells: from human physiology and disease to ecosystems. Drs. Erik Eide, Charlotte Majerczyk, S. Brook Peterson

Aliens vs. Predators: Pathogens, Drugs, and Us. Drs. Martin Melcher, Brianne Raccor, Vasudha Sundaravaradan

Fins, Fur and Wings: Model Organisms in Neuroscience. Drs. Jodi Downs, Eva Ma, Ruth Thomas