THE PROFESSOR AS EDUCATOR
Professor Serrano enjoys working with students to expand their understanding and interest in science, math, engineering, and technology. She draws on a broad background in the sciences, arts, and the humanities to offer educational experiences that are relevant and interdisciplinary. To this end she has developed courses for both majors and non-majors and her courses span the entire educational curriculum, from the introductory 100 level to doctoral specialty 700 level seminars. Syllabi for her courses have been online since 2000.
Serrano has achieved recognition for her efforts as an educator though numerous awards including the NMSU Donald C. Roush University Teaching Excellence Award, the NMSU Hispanic Student Organization Outstanding Professor Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Distinguished Mentor Award. She currently serves as co-Chair of the NIH ACD Working Group on Diversity.
What's behind the content of these courses?
Serrano’s original appointment as the first neuroscience hire in the Biology Department was established as a new faculty line by the central administration. This position was competitively available to any department in the university that participated in the search process.
The new faculty line was justified as part of NMSU’s efforts to increase institutional expertise in biomedical research, and with the expectation that the new hire would enhance underrepresented minority student training programs funded by the NIGMS MORE division (now TWD).
Consequently Serrano has worked toward developing a curriculum that draws on her doctoral and postdoctoral training and expertise at Stanford and UCLA medical schools and prepares NMSU students to understand, and participate in, modern biomedical research.
Highlights of curriculum innovation
As an Assistant Professor in the mid 1990s Professor Serrano developed NMSU’s first courses in Neurobiology (1993) and Science and Ethics (1996) and she continues to offer instruction in these areas through Biology (Bio 490/590/540) and the Honors College (Hon 115/306V).
In 2005 she and her colleague, Philosophy Professor Dr. Tim Cleveland, collaborated and used her syllabus to develop a graduate Science and Ethics course in the Philosophy Department (Phil 540) during Serrano's sabbatical year; faculty in both departments currently alternate as instructors.
As an Assistant Professor Serrano led efforts to establish the Human Biology minor (1997) and she promoted the establishment of a non-majors Human Biology course, modeled on Stanford’s distinguished undergraduate Human Biology major. She regularly teaches Human Biology to classes of over 100 non-majors. In 2002, she led efforts to develop the Cell and Organismal disciplinary graduate emphasis in the Biology Department.
In recent years Serrano also has developed courses that provide skills needed by students to prepare for careers after graduation. Moreover, in her capacity as MPI of the NMSU RISE program and leader of the RISE STARTUP activity, she has promoted free workshop offerings open to the NMSU student community that build quantitative and computational research skills.
In fall 2015 Serrano is piloting a new model for graduate instruction that integrates career development explorations into inquiry-based activities around the research theme, Disorders of the Nervous System (Bio 590).
TO SEE SERRANO COURSE SYLLABI FROM 2000-PRESENT, CLICK HERE
Professor Serrano's Fall 2015 Courses:
Bio 590, Advanced Neurobiology/ Disorders of the Nervous System: Covers prominent neural disorders such as Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. Students who complete the course will be able to explain the fundamentals of the prevalence and causes of selected neural disorders, and will be able demonstrate how their discipline is contributing to research in brain science. Students will have undertaken a skills assessment, and will have identified laboratories/work settings where they can potentially engage in neuroscience research after completion of their NMSU degree.
Honors 115: Launch Your Science Career: For students who seek to discover how to plan their undergraduate experiences to prepare for a science career after graduation. The course provides guidance about how to identify a faculty mentor, apply for science internships at NMSU and other institutions, and earn income or course credit while gaining hands on experience. Students will begin to assemble a professional portfolio, prepare resumes and personal statements, and learn how to design a professional web presence. Invited speakers will discuss potential science career paths and offer perspectives for how to achieve academic success while enjoying student life.
Bio 598: Skills for Grant Trainees/RISE Biomedical Research Training. This Professional Development course will develop skills in time management, constructing a professional online presence, and communicating science to the non-specialist. Emphasis on written and oral communication
TWO+ DECADES OF COURSE OFFERINGS:
*Serrano, course originator
FALL 2015 COURSE
For Graduate students:
For Undergraduate STEM Majors:
For Undergraduate STEM and non-STEM majors: