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I apologize for not responding more promptly to your 2010-11 annual report, and I hope these comments

are still of some use.



I was very impressed by your report. It would be difficult to respond in detail to everything in a 19 page
report, so I will comment on some aspects that I found most striking.

You have clearly spent a lot of time thinking about how well students learn in your courses, and have
adapted numerous aspects of all your courses to make them more effective. Sometimes these have been
small changes (such as 1 minute papers and Powerpoint format), sometimes larger ones (such as
reorganizing labs). Your student evaluations indicated that these efforts paid off. I was particularly
impressed by the evaluations in Human Biology, which are some of the highest that I have seen for this
type of course. These 100-level courses for non-majors can be difficult to teach, as student motivation is
often not very high.

Adding journal clubs to courses is a good way to expand the scope of the course. It is important that
science majors learn about scientific communications and the community nature of science, as well as the
facts in textbooks. I think that students who go on to grad school will find this especially useful. It seems
that this worked well in Cell Biology, and is worth expanding to other upper-level courses.

You have also contributed to the departmental program in other ways, such as taking on a large number of
advisees, developing an on-line course, assisting in recruiting efforts, and promoting and updating the med
tech major. You have also contributed to the department in less formal ways. I know that many students
enjoy working with you, both on matters related to courses as well as less formal converstations. Also,
thanks for being careful about the cost of materials needed for classes. Cell and molecular biology is
expensive, and I think that your time negotiating with vendors was well spent.

We talked at several points last year about possible grant proposals. I know that it is difficult for faculty at
smaller institutions to compete at the national level for grants, especially in areas related to health sciences.
I hope that you will continue to pursue funding opportunities, and you may wish to consider smaller
programs such as the Indiana Academy of Science as well as NSF or NIH.

One advantage of being so late with this response is that I have a bit more hindsight. Your work with
students on research projects this academic year is an important addition to the work that you were able to
do in the previous two years. I note that neither project is directly related to your grad school research; it is
an important motivator for students to be able to choose a topic, even if it is a bit of stretch for the
instructor. I hope that you will continue this, and expand the range of projects available to our students.
This experience will improve their ability to compete for jobs and graduate school.

David J. Hicks

24 January 2012