Monthly Archives: July 2017

Support the neuroscience curriculum! #MoveInMiami

Sheep brain dissections in PSY251 teach students the basics of neuroanatomy and help conceptualize the 3-dimensional structure of the brain. This experience creates a strong foundation for all upper-level neuroscience courses.

The second of our #MoveInMiami projects is to support the undergraduate neuroscience curriculum; the related page can be found here, and states:

Neuroscience is one of the most demanding fields in medicine and research, and is also incredibly popular among Miami undergraduates. Enrollment in the neuroscience co-major has steadily increased since its inception.

The behavioral neuroscience fund will expand experiential learning experiences across the neuroscience curriculum in the Psychology Department, including 200, 300, and 400 level courses.

Stay tuned for more about how you can help with this effort as well as the graduate student travel fund, our other #MoveInMiami project. This project was previously announced in this post describing the campaign.

Seeking CPI associates for fall

Do you have RAs, advisees, or other notable undergraduates that would work well as CPI associates? Contact Christina Fitzpatrick; she writes:

The Center for Psychological Inquiry (CPI) is looking to recruit talented students to become CPI associates. CPI associates sign up for 1 credit hour of independent study and assist other students with homework and general questions. If you have any current or previous students that you think will be interested in this opportunity please email Christina Fitzpatrick.

Graduate seminar on diversity in STEM

In the fall, Joyce Fernandes (BIO) will be offering a graduate seminar on Broadening participation in STEM–what it means, and why it matters in higher education.” Beyond the inherent benefits in bringing more diverse perspectives to bear on a problem, Joyce writes:

Funding agencies want scientists and educators to demonstrate their approaches to include diverse groups of students and other participants with an immediate goal of inclusion, and an ultimate goal of a diversified workforce. What can you do as a scientist and/educator to contribute to this ongoing effort of broadening participation in STEM, in your current practices or in the near future?  [Participants will] read literature, engage in mini-projects (boots on the ground), and reach a more “energetically favorable” place than where we started, both collectively and individually.

My overall goal for this seminar is to provide a space and the experience for graduate students to explore the scope of Broadening Participation in STEM by reading and discussing literature on this topic. How do these ideas impact your own roles as scientists and educators? What can you bring to the table based on your own experiences?  We will also interact with [undergraduate] students who are enrolled in programs which have goals of broadening participation.

Mid-course evaluations

The Senate CTE committee has published a white paper endorsing the use of mid-course evaluations. This has also been emphasized during P&T and other reviews in terms of “multiple measures.” Perhaps we can discuss whether and how to work towards a process where faculty are more systematically reviewed internally and through SGIDs, etc. The link provides information in the sidebar on processes, examples, and more. From CTE:

Midcourse evaluation is another powerful assessment tool for faculty at Miami. In 2017, the Center for Teaching Excellence Senate Committee  detailed recommendations for the use of midcourse evaluation processes at Miami University. In addition to the endorsement of midcourse evaluations, the paper also contains suggested readings and example tools.

Who are your accomplished alums?

CAS is maintaining a list of your most interesting undergrad and grad alumni, for featuring alumni profiles in newsletters, websites, and other communications. The department can also make use of these to benefit programming ranging from events, to class visits, to hosting during conferences.

Think about some of the “success stories” among your academic lineage, as well as undergraduate RAs and other close advisees, who may be in industry, government, or NGOs. CAS asks you to reach out to them and have them complete the information here so CAS can edit them into narrative alumni profiles. The new format can be previewed here.

Department flyer

Each year, Jason Barone (CAS communications) produces flyers for each department. These are targeted at prospective and incoming students, and used by CAS advising for students indicating an interest in changing/adding majors. Vaishali worked with Jason to update the flyer, which can be found here. Feel free to use as you see fit.

Is my “basic” research really a clinical trial?

Many of you may be following this through your professional societies, but if not this is an important change in federal policy that could potentially impact even “basic” research. The policy went into effect January 1 and is currently active. The following summary is from FABBS:

The new NIH policy on clinical trials potentially includes a good bit of basic science research. According to the policy, a clinical trial is “a research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes.” The policy requires registration of the research and results as well as good clinical practice training for investigators. It also affects funding opportunities and review of grant applications. There are criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance. Additional information can be found on the NIH blog here.

FABBS and other scientific societies are expressing their concerns over this broad definition/policy, but their objections do not seem to have gained much traction. They have created this site to compile information and resources. I will provide updates as I hear of them through FABBS; Robin Thomas is also her society’s FABBS contact and may have more information. Josh Magee also points out that the NIH provides examples to help one determine whether their research is included.

E-book trial offerings

The libraries have acquired a one-year free trial to several e-books from Taylor & Francis; the list can be found here. The library will use usage statistics and faculty/student feedback to determine which titles to retain after the trial period. If you find a title of interest and would like to have permanent access, please let Anna Liss (our departmental librarian) know by the end of the upcoming academic year. Note that more frequent access, printing, etc. of a title will also advantage that title in the libraries’ deliberation.

Support the grad students! #MoveInMiami

Graduate students attend a conference in Chicago

Psychology graduate students in Chicago

Each year, Miami coordinates a one-day fundraising campaign, #MoveInMiami. Departments, programs, and organizations are encouraged to propose specific programming they would like to target for contributions through the campaign. These focal “projects” are promoted on the first-year move-in date on Thursday, August 24 to parents, alumni, and the Miami community.

We have selected to focus on the Graduate Student Travel Fund. As you know, Cecilia and Amy set up this fund specifically to augment the available university funds for graduate students to attend and present at conferences. We will also be supporting the undergraduate neuroscience curriculum in a separate project.

A big component of the campaign has been promoting projects through social media. University accounts, President Crawford, and alumni networks will all be publicizing the campaign, and faculty are encouraged to consider joining in through social media platforms as they see fit.

Often these campaigns are run with goals and/or challenges that we might discuss closer to move-in. In the past it has been a successful (“record-breaking”) way to generate enthusiasm and support for all kinds of programs across the university. More to come…