Free Instructional Webinar Series for Undergraduate Faculty: How to Incorporate Toxicological Principles into Courses

By Suzanne Wilkison posted 08-26-2021 04:31 PM


Faculty who teach undergraduates around the country are invited to participate in a periodic, free webinar series that will provide resources and instruction to help faculty integrate core principles of toxicology into various courses.

The series will consist of seven 60-minute webinars held throughout the 2021–2022 academic year. While the series was developed to support the North Carolina Higher Education Faculty and Mentor Network, its content will benefit those teaching undergraduates in all states. Anyone teaching undergraduates or interested in undergraduate education is invited to participate.

The series will open with two programs in September:

  1. “An Introduction to the Core Concepts of Toxicology,” September 1, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm
  1. “Toxicology Core Concept: A Focus on Evolution,” September 29, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Because of the nature upon which the instruction will layer and build throughout the coming months, faculty are encouraged—but are not required—to participate in the entire seven-part series. Presented in partnership with the SOT Faculty United for Toxicology Undergraduate Recruitment and Education (FUTURE) Committee, facilitators for the series include Joshua Gray (US Coast Guard Academy), Mindy Reynolds (Washington College), and Chris Curran (Northern Kentucky University). Content will be organized using the SOT Undergraduate Toxicology Learning Framework.

Register here for the series and to join the Undergraduate Toxicology Curriculum Discussion Group.

As part of the discussion group community, you will receive information about each of the monthly webinar sessions and the participation links. The webinars will be interactive, and virtual participation will be an essential element of the learning experience. Discussion community members will receive background materials and will be expected to respond to questions that provide the foundation for discussion during each of the webinar sessions.

About the North Carolina Higher Education Faculty and Mentor Network

A year ago, we wrote to announce an exciting new initiative—the North Carolina Higher Education Faculty and Mentor Network—that was launching last fall as college campuses were reopening in pandemic conditions and as undergraduate faculty were embracing ever-changing work conditions. Then, during our Annual Meeting in March, the network was an SOT TV feature.

A year later, we are delighted to report that the network, which now consists of 29 members (faculty and mentors) from 15 North Carolina organizations (industry, government, and academia), is progressing to its second year and to the next phase of its development as campuses open for the fall 2021 semester.

The network is led by SOT, the SOT North Carolina Regional Chapter (NCSOT), and the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR), which is a science education nonprofit organization whose programs primarily target K–16 educators and students to foster appreciation and interest in STEM education and careers.

The network is one response to the Society’s current Strategic Plan, which seeks to increase the Society’s influence through science communication. In 2019, SOT Council identified audiences (legislators and educators), developed key messaging, and formulated a strategy (Strategic Objective C1) to engage key influencers and to increase the recognition and appreciation of toxicology as a science that can have a major, positive influence on human and environmental health.

To help meet Strategic Objective C1, the North Carolina Higher Education Faculty and Mentor Network launched in fall 2020, building on the successes of the Undergraduate Consortium Task Force and showcasing the resources developed by FUTURE.

A network goal is to serve as a pilot program that could be expanded to other Regional Chapters to effectively communicate key principles of toxicology, the value of the science of toxicology to society, and the many career pathways available in this discipline.

Network objectives are:

  • To increase North Carolina undergraduate student involvement in local and national SOT programs
  • To increase North Carolina undergraduate student usage of SOT educational and mentoring resources
  • To increase the usage of curriculum materials in North Carolina undergraduate science courses that address the importance and meaning of toxicology
  • To increase awareness of toxicology as a career opportunity among undergraduate educators and students

Information and webinar recordings from the network’s first year of operations are available. First-year outcomes included:

  • The formation of a Leadership Council with representation from NCABR, NCSOT, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, and several SOT members previously involved in the Undergraduate Consortium Task Force. The Leadership Council identified network invitees and developed a series of launch meetings and virtual programs to support network members throughout the 2020–2021 academic year and summer 2021.
  • Webinar: NIEHS Opportunities for Undergraduate Students (February 3, 2021): This program provided network members and undergraduate students with information about and a virtual tour of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park.
  • Webinar: Alternatives to Graduate School (May 18, 2021): This webinar addressed Advising STEM Students on Career Paths in the Toxicological Sciences. The program was for undergraduate teaching and advising faculty, and it featured panelists from industry, government, and academia.
  • Webinar: SOT ToxScholar Program, Undergraduate Awards, and Upcoming Deadlines (July 19, 2021): This webinar was held for undergraduate-teaching faculty and advisors, with information provided by FUTURE, the SOT Committee on Diversity Initiatives, and NCSOT.

For more questions about the North Carolina Higher Education Faculty and Mentor Network, please contact Virginia Crisp, NCABR Coordinator, or contact Suzanne Wilkison, NCABR President.