MSEPF Teaching Responsibilities

back to start page about the 2021 MSEPF

Overall teaching load

The MSEPF position will involve 12 contact hours over the academic year as a whole. The average of 6 contacts per semester can be split unevenly between the Fall and Spring semesters by mutual agreement between the MSEPF and the Chair of the Dept of Biology. This load is lower than that of most tenure-track faculty members at Villanova, who usually carry 15 contact hours for the year assuming they have an active research program, or 12 contact hours for a minority of faculty members with substantial external funding.

While “on paper” the MSEPF position is 50% teaching and 50% research, in reality the Fellow’s time is usually taken up more by teaching responsibilities (including co-mentoring of research students) than by the Fellow’s own research activity.

Spring 2021

The MSEPF will be the instructor of record for two courses for which classes begin on 25 Jan 2021:

  • Behavioral Ecology: Masters level, lecture/seminar format (3 contact hours)
  • Undergraduate Capstone course (3 contact hours) in an area of ecology (ideally below the ecosystem level of organization) of the Fellow’s choosing (in consultation with the Dept of Biology and the Mentor). Capstone courses have these elements:
    • Taken by Senior Biology majors who are not conducting Thesis research, with limited enrollment (≤ 15 students)
    • Usually seminar format; the courses should involve active learning by the students and take a problem-solving approach
    • “Writing Intensive”: Capstones involve an emphasis on polished written presentation following disciplinary norms for style as well as use and acknowledgment of sources (usually including expectations for use of citation management software such as Zotero)

Fall 2021

A core expectation of the MSEPF position is teaching contribution to the CLAS Core Curriculum concerning laboratory science courses for non-science majors in the College. The MSEPF should expect to participate in an MSE course in at least one semester each academic year.

In 2020, I developed a new MSE course focusing on Genealogy (MSE 2212). That offering (S20 and F20) has been very successful and well-received; I anticipate that we will offer the class again in F21 (and not also in S22). Rather than having the MSEPF take full responsibility for the lecture/laboratory class in F21, I expect that the MSEPF would co-instruct MSE 2212 and then also co-instruct Bio 3255 Evolutionary Ecology lecture/laboratory class in the same semester.

Usually, we would also offer our Field Ecology & Evolution sequence (≈ Tropical Field Ecology), on a 2-year cycle, in F21 and S22. The lecture component (2 contact hours) takes place in Fall; the laboratory component involves a 2-week field course in Costa Rica in January and then follow-up work during the Spring semester (5 contact hours). Assuming that travel becomes possible again post-pandemic, I will negotiate the MSEPF about participation in this course, including the field component.

Beyond S21

In subsequent semesters, the MSEPF would have opportunities to teach the same courses again (with a chance both to capitalize on prior experience and to document ability to improve based on student evaluation feedback), or to offer other courses in the Fellow’s areas of expertise, or both. The Fellow will negotiate teaching roles in consultation with the Mentor and the Chair of the Dept of Biology, with outcomes dependent on departmental needs.