News Release| The National Academies; Cal State L.A.

December 9, 2011

CSULA professors named Fellows in Life Sciences

Fisher, Narguizian selected to participate in
The National Academies regional summer institute

Los Angeles, CA – Cal State L.A.’s Biology Professors Kirsten Fisher (Pasadena resident) and Paul Narguizian (Sherman Oaks resident) both were bestowed the title of Education Fellows in the Life Sciences by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.

As Fellows, they recently participated in the 2011 National Academic Regional Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology held at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.

Fisher and Narguizian were selected based on their ideas for enhancing undergraduate biology education, and due to CSULA’s commitment to support teaching innovations. They were also chosen based on their willingness to collaborate on the development of instructional materials to teach scientific thinking and biology concepts.

Additionally, both CSULA faculty members pledged to implement a seminar designed to enhance the ability of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and others to mentor undergraduates in the research laboratory.

In a letter to CSULA President James M. Rosser, National Academy of Sciences Vice President Barbara A. Schaal wrote: “By sending this team to the National Academies Summer Institute, your institution is at the forefront of improvement of undergraduate education that is so essential for preparing both future scientists and scientifically-literate citizens.”

An expert on bryophyte ecology and evolution, Fisher is interested in research on plant molecular systematics, phylogeography, and the use of phylogenetic trees for exploring evolutionary questions in general. She is affiliated with the University’s Center for Energy and Sustainability, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Narguizian’s expertise is in K-16 science instruction, curriculum development and assessment associated with science education. His research and publication interests include evolution education, the role of museums and natural history collections in understanding evolution, animal behavior, and the nature, philosophy and history of science.

Aimed at fostering innovative approaches to teaching undergraduate biology, the summer institute involved teams from 16 research universities from across the United States for five days of presentations, discussions, intensive group work and other activities with a focus on themes of active learning, assessment and diversity. 

The summer institute is the direct result of a key recommendation from the 2003 National Research Council report, entitled Bio2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists, which called for programs of professional development to engage faculty at research-intensive institutions in taking greater responsibility for high-quality undergraduate biology education.

Major funding for the summer institute was provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, along with support from the host university and The National Academies. For details:  

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