COSAM News Articles 2022 April Dr. Min Zhong (Biological Sciences), 2022 Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher

Dr. Min Zhong (Biological Sciences), 2022 Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher

Published: 04/18/2022

By: Leslie Leak

Min Zhong is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Qufu Normal University, a Master of Science degree in Entomology from China Agricultural University, and a PhD in Biology from Auburn University. 

Zhong has been a lecturer at Auburn since 2011. She is currently teaching Principles of Biology, but she has also taught Introduction to Biology, Organismal Biology, and Biology of Marine Systems to undergraduate students. 

Additionally, Zhong is a faculty fellow for the Biggio Center. She is the lead coordinator for Auburn University’s Learning Assistant Program, or AULAP. Funded by COSAM and in partnership with the Biggio Center, AULAP provides an enhanced learning support for undergraduates enrolled in science and math courses with active learning settings. 

Zhong is also part of the instructional faculty for Auburn First, a program that offers high school students an accessible and affordable opportunity to take official Auburn University courses to earn both college and high school credit at the same time.

Zhong has extensive experience in teaching biology core courses in a student-centered active learning environment. She develops integrative teaching strategies with the combination of scientific research and pedagogical approaches for biological courses, creating an active learning environment for students, and advising undergraduates to get started in scientific research.

In addition to teaching, Zhong’s main areas of focus are evidence-based education research and curriculum transformation. She is involved in the field of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research in the entry-level science core courses (both face-to-face and online). She works as an SoTL facilitator in Biggio center. Her goals are to use the evidence-based teaching strategies to improve instruction and to help students more successfully achieve the learning objectives. 

When asked what she enjoys most about teaching, Zhong stated, “I enjoy evidence-based teaching and the process of collecting data to learn from my students so that, based on their feedback, I can adjust my teaching practices to better fit their academic and learning needs.” 

Zhong says she adjusts her teaching process almost every semester based off this student-centered approach to teaching. “As I learn more about the student learning process, I develop ways how I can improve my teaching and refine the curriculum. Collecting data from the current student population through evidence-based learning is necessary to support and serve the upcoming student population.”

She is also dedicated to developing large-scale, high-impact undergraduate authentic research experience for first-year undergraduates. This semester, Zhong is piloting a freshmen-level CURE lab course. CURE, or Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience, is a classroom-based course in which the entire class addresses a research question or problem with unknown outcomes. Next semester, she plans to expand the pilot to three CURE lab offerings and says it is a scalable platform that can accommodate many students. 

“My students are doing really well in the pilot course this semester,” said Zhong. “Traditionally, freshmen do not have many opportunities to conduct authentic research. By introducing them to authentic research early, I feel it will benefit students in the longer term. They will become more adaptive throughout the rest of their college experience and will be better prepared for different classroom and teaching styles. I enjoy seeing them be challenged yet growing in knowledge and confidence in this type of learning environment.”

Outside of the classroom, Zhong enjoys traveling and cooking in her free time.

 

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