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April 25, 2013

Dear Dr. Polando,



Thank you so much for inviting me to sit in on your Microbiology class. What a busy room! I
guess I picked a great day to visit!! 30 plus Manchester University students and 12 visiting
Juniors from around the state and Ohio! Certainly, there was a lot going on!

It was great that you began class by sharing what was going on with events on campus. To
open with a conversation about the Solidarity Week events was really a nice touch,
especially thinking about it as a way of supporting community. I also like how you reviewed
information about the assignments coming up, and responding to questions about what
would be on the test.

Another reason that was nice to visit microbial epidemics! It was interesting that you
could share examples of coevolution and examples of how a virus could be used to address
population control. You have a natural style of interacting with the students. Using real
world examples with vaccinations and discussing how the biology ties to their behaviors
was very interesting.

I really appreciated hearing how public health education is a strong control strategy. It is
an important reality to pair drug intervention along with education. Addressing it with
both autism and HIV was brilliant. I wish the students would have jumped in more at this
point to have discussed more about how their behaviors tie with these infections. It sounds
like their behaviors have been discussed throughout the semester, though, so maybe it was
just a point that had been repeatedly reviewed.

At the point in the presentation when you were discussing controls against transmission, I
would have loved to see you use a partnered think-pair-share (think about an issue,
partner up, share what your ideas are). To have the students talk as immunologists and
how they might work to quarantine or reduce transmission. It would have been interesting
to have heard their ideas about what might work best, and whether or not their ideas
would work with Center for Disease Control/World Health Organization surveillance,
quarantines, and controls. Students always seem to appreciate when their ideas match
reality, and this would have been a nice link.

I really thought the conversation about how deaths in Africa when compared with the
Americas were so significantly different. To analyze different populations and
environmental influences. The questions that followed about the impact of cancer on 20%
of American deaths in comparison with 4% African deaths were interesting. Where we live
and what we do makes an impact on human beings and what impacts us. Developing
technology that allows us to develop longer and live in areas we didnt previously inhabit
makes a difference, and the students seemed to grasp this clearly.


It was great that as common forms of biological weapons were mentioned, the students
could apply their previous knowledge to the information that was previously reviewed. It is
clear that they are aware that infection through skin is less lethal than consumption, which
is better than inhalation. It is somewhat amusing as an outsider (perhaps a bit frightening),
that students knew so much about biological warfare? Wow frightening to think about
the power of their knowledge.

Overall, it was an excellent class. I like the methods that you use, and I appreciate that you
have such nice interaction during lecture. The only suggestion I might actually make would
be to consider the power of partnered conversation or small group work to allow them to
process what is learned and shared during lecture.

Otherwise, a simply delightful and interesting class!

Thank you again for allowing me to visit!

Sincerely,

Michael L. Slavkin