Carnegie Mellon University

The Sciences Teaching Club

Science ConnectionMany newly minted Ph.D.s have felt the terror. You are a new faculty member preparing to teach your first course. Where to begin? Perhaps with choosing readings or maybe designing assignments? Whether following a colleague's materials or building a new course from scratch in your research area, it's a daunting situation to be sure. Corey Flynn, Ken Hovis, Jeanne Morin-Leisk and Melissa Witzberger set out to change that for Mellon College of Sciences students. The Biological Sciences graduate students started the Sciences Teaching Club, bringing together graduate students and postdocs from the sciences and engineering to hone their teaching skills and enrich their knowledge of pedagogy. They regularly hear firsthand from seasoned faculty members about their own teaching experiences and about the broad scope of opportunities available for teaching in the sciences at various types of institutions. Club members gather to discuss the art of teaching, pore over case studies and participate in microteaching workshops, during which they teach a small sample lesson and receive feedback from their peers and experts from Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. For Hovis, participating in club activities and taking courses offered by the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence were key to a successful turn as an adjust faculty member at Robert Morris University. "There's no way I would have been prepared if not for what I learned through the Eberly Center and the Sciences Teaching Club," he said.

If you are a student interested in teaching in the sciences or an alumnus interested in sharing your experiences with current students, please contact Melissa Witzberger at or visit

Reprint from the MCS Science Connection