Faculty member named Scholar-in-Residence by American Society of Microbiology

Monday, June 19, 2006

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Dr. Lee Hughes, a lecturer for the University of North Texas Department of Biological Sciences and undergraduate advisor for the department, has been selected as a 2006-2007 Scholar-in-Residence by the American Society for Microbiology.

With more than 42,000 members in the United States and in other nations, ASM is the oldest and largest organization devoted to a single life science in the world. The society advances the work of microbiologists, who study microbes -- bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, mycoplasma, fungi, algae and protozoa. ASM's members represent 25 disciplines of microbiological specialization, and also include microbiology educators.

The society's Scholars-in-Residence Program develops selected faculty members' ability to conduct research in microbiology teaching and learning. Hughes was one of 15 university faculty members in the nation, and the only one from a Texas college or university, chosen for the program.

As an ASM Scholar-in-Residence, he will attend the society's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Summer Workshop July 26-29 at the ASM's office in Washington, D.C. At the workshop, he will work with microbiologists who are Carnegie Scholars to develop a hypothesis to explore student learning in microbiology and design an experiment, using his classes at UNT, to test the hypothesis. He will present the results at the ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators next May in Toronto.

Hughes said he plans to study the effectiveness of online or distance learning tools to teach microbiology. He currently teaches an undergraduate course for non-science majors, Applied Microbiology, that introduces microbiological concepts as applied to human activities, with an emphasis on the microbiology of food. The course is offered both online and on the UNT campus, with approximately 50 to 60 students taking it online when it is offered.

"I want to use the skills I learn at the summer workshop to better assess what's working and what's not working in my classes," Hughes said.

A UNT faculty member since 2000, Hughes recently published an article on improving classroom teaching through online course development in "Focus on Microbiology Education." He has also published in " Current Microbiology."

Last September, Hughes was part of a team of UNT faculty members who received a grant of almost $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to establish the UNT Science and Mathematics Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. The scholarships provide $7,750 a year to UNT students preparing to teach secondary mathematics and science. Recipients must teach two years in school districts with shortages of math and science teachers. Hughes has also received several UNT Learning Enhancement Grants to improve teaching.

In addition to teaching at UNT, he has taught at the University of Texas at Dallas, Brookhaven College in Dallas and Collin County Community College in McKinney. He was also assistant director of admissions for UNT for four years.

Hughes received his bachelor's degree in English, master's degree in biology and doctoral degree in microbiology from UNT.

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