Teaching Requirements

To do:

  • Sign up for Teaching Assistant (TA) choices in April of first year.
  • Complete one TAship and one Outreach experience (or second TAship).

General Description:

The ability to communicate with students and the public is an important aspect of the scientific endeavor.  Experience in teaching is a central component of the MCB program.  To provide students with practical teaching experience, each student serves as a Teaching Assistant for two quarters. The TA experience typically involves one course in which the TA manages a formal quiz section, and a second course in which the TA manages a laboratory section. Courses with TA responsibilities limited to test grading and office hours are not accepted as meeting the TA requirement.

As an alternative for one of the TA requirements, students may elect to participate in one of the formal outreach programs that will expose them to teaching science to people other than undergraduates.  The MCB program has a list of programs that have been approved by the Directors.   The Science Education Partnership (SEP) program administered through the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is the largest of these. This program gives secondary school science teachers hands-on research experience through one-on-one pairing with a scientist-mentor. MCB students who participate in this program  develop curriculum.   Additional  alternative teaching experiences include the BioQuest program run by SBRI in which high school students are given lab-based instruction during two week "summer camps" and the Portal-to-the-Public program run by the Pacific Science Center in which MCB students make presentations about exhibits to the general public. Each of these "alternative" TA experiences also includes a mentoring component.

Students are required to select at least one "academic" course for TA experience in addition to any alternate teaching experience. MSTP/MCB students will complete one regular academic TA during their second year in the MCB Program. All MCB students are required to attend the Annual TA Conference on Teaching and Learning, held on one day in mid-September, before beginning their teaching. This conference will take priority over any other Autumn Quarter events (e.g., departmental retreats) scheduled during the same interval.  International students are required to demonstrate proficiency in English before beginning their teaching.