Award

Dolan recognized for ‘transformation of teaching’

She won the 2017 ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education
Adriana Bankston
April 1, 2017

Erin Dolan, the Georgia Athletic Association Professor for innovative science education at the University of Georgia, won the 2017 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education. The award recognizes those who encourage effective teaching and learning of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Erin Dolan “I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my colleagues and the society with the award. It is exciting to see an influential organization like ASBMB reward efforts to promote teaching in ways that are consistent with how people learn.” — ERIN DOLAN

Daniel Leahy at the University of Texas at Austin said in his nomination letter that Dolan’s “commitment to evidence-based transformation of teaching and learning is visionary.”

As the former executive director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science at UT Austin, Dolan led the Freshman Research Initiative, the nation’s largest university undergraduate research program that gives first-year students the opportunity to engage in research with faculty and graduate students through a three-semester lab course. In addition to guiding the FRI, she established the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science, an institute for education innovation with the mission to enhance the college’s leading role in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. TIDES is focused on student programs that foster experiential and engaged learning, development programs for STEM faculty, and studies determining the effectiveness and impact of education programming.

Paula Lemons, who supported Dolan’s nomination, is a fellow instructor of the Introduction to Biochemistry course Dolan teaches at UGA. Lemons noted that Dolan uses “learning objectives to guide student work, case studies and other in-class activities to get students’ minds engaged and challenged, and constructed-response assessments that demand deep understanding and problem solving.”

Dolan’s contributions to teaching reflect her desire to help faculty become better teachers. She participated in the inaugural meeting of a national initiative to define threshold concepts in undergraduate biochemistry education.

She also took part in a think-tank meeting to promote course-based undergraduate research experiences in biochemistry and molecular biology. This resulted in a report published in CBE: Life Sciences Education in 2014. In this report, Dolan and her colleagues delineated what made course-based undergraduate research experiences meaningful. According to Sarah Elgin of Washington University in St. Louis, who wrote a nomination letter, this paper “provides a framework for thinking about assessment, about outcomes we might hope for and could measure. I believe this paper has had a very significant impact on the field.”

Dolan also supports biology education research in her role as editor-in-chief of LSE. Kimberly Tanner of San Francisco State University, a founding editorial board member of LSE who also nominated Dolan for the award, writes of Dolan’s “unwavering” focus on evidence-based understanding of science education. She also notes Dolan’s ability to “raise the level of research in the field of biology education by coaching and not shaming, supporting and not dismissing, individuals aspiring to participate in the emerging field of discipline-based biology education research.”

Dolan earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco. She began teaching biochemistry at Virginia Tech and then moved to UGA. She then was the executive director of TIDES before returning to the UGA.

Dolan will receive her award during the 2017 ASBMB Annual Meeting in Chicago, where she will deliver an award lecture. The presentation will take place at 12:30 p.m. April 23 in room W184bc in McCormick Place.

Adriana Bankston

Adriana Bankston is a principal legislative analyst at the University of California Office of Federal Governmental Relations. She is also chief executive officer and managing publisher at the Journal of Science Policy and Governance. This post represents the writer's personal views and not the views of their employer.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in People

People highlights or most popular articles

Hall named Vallee professor; Beverley receives endowed chair
Member News

Hall named Vallee professor; Beverley receives endowed chair

Sept. 27, 2021

Awards, promotions, milestones and more. Find out what's going on in the lives of ASBMB members.

Nautilus founder unspirals a new approach to proteomics
Feature

Nautilus founder unspirals a new approach to proteomics

Sept. 21, 2021

Parag Mallick may be trying to launch a competing proteomics technique, but you won’t catch him badmouthing mass spectrometers.

In memoriam: Stephen Prescott
In Memoriam

In memoriam: Stephen Prescott

Sept. 20, 2021

A former JBC associate editor and president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, he wrote about his journey with cancer.

In memoriam: Teruko Tamura
In Memoriam

In memoriam: Teruko Tamura

Sept. 20, 2021

Trained as a verterinarian, Tamura made major contributions to cancer research focusing on the Src and FMS-like tyrosine kinases and signal transduction, gaining a worldwide reputation in the field.

Finding the right research path
Interview

Finding the right research path

Sept. 16, 2021

Karen Bornfeldt, an associate editor for the Journal of Lipid Research, investigates how diabetes increases cardiovascular disease risk.

Society news briefs: September 2021
Society News

Society news briefs: September 2021

Sept. 14, 2021

Find out everything that’s been going on lately with the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.