Nicola Barber

Nicola Barter

Biology | 541-346-7024

Courses: Bi211 General Biology I: Cells; Bi322 Cell Biology; Bi140 Science, Policy, and Biology

In my classes you will:

  • Make connections to lived experiences and real life challenges. 
  • Interact during exciting, participatory class meetings

I was invited into the Teaching Academy because:

  • I participated in a Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching.

In what ways are you working to make your teaching inclusive?

I try to learn all my students’ names, even in my largest course of almost 200 students. Students in my courses use name tents which helps everyone get to know each other. Learning names builds trust with my students and demonstrates that I care about them and their success. It creates a classroom community and fosters a sense of belonging for students.

What do you do in terms of professional engagement with the teaching and learning culture on campus or nationally?

I am actively involved with the Science Literacy Program on campus where I lead the science education research efforts. I have mentored participants of the Summer Institutes for Scientific Teaching. I have participated in meetings of the Northwest Biosciences Consortium, Northwest Biology Instructors Organization, and Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research.

In what ways was your teaching in this course research-led—informed by research on how students learn and inflected by UO's research mission?

As a science education researcher, I keep up to date on literature relevant to both my research and teaching. I employ many evidence-based teaching strategies for inclusive student success including opening and closing questions, student discussion, frequent low-stakes quizzes, student response systems, student predictions, case studies, connecting to prior knowledge, problem solving, and engaging student metacognition. I also try to make connections to the science research on our campus and emphasize the research-related skills students are building.

What teaching moment led you to this discipline?

I wanted to be a teacher to help students learn and explore exciting science. I love the pace of discovery and growth in the classroom. I am always inspired by the student-led poster session in my Bi322 Cell Biology course. At the end of the quarter, students present their research on the cellular basis of a disease and therapy. It is incredible to see students applying the skills and content knowledge they gained over the quarter to topics they are passionate about.