KeywordsScholarship of Teaching and Learning
Molecular Biology Initiative Program
Public high school
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AbstractThe Molecular Biology Initiative Program utilizes intensive service learning to enhance graduate student professional development (e.g. communication, leadership). The program partners biology graduate students with in-service high school teachers from rural school districts in Southeast Georgia. The service learning products are standards-aligned modules of varying length that focus on topics such as evolution, epidemiology and biotechnology. Mixed-method quantitative and qualitative tools were used to evaluate outcomes for participants. Attitudinal surveys and interviews indicated that the graduate students credited the program with enhanced leadership, time management and communication skills; and this was substantiated by classroom observations. In addition, pre/posttest learning assessment showed substantial knowledge gains for both high school teachers and students, and classroom observations indicated a high level of student engagement. High school student attitudes toward science were also positively impacted based on survey tool results. Overall, the intensive graduate student service learning project resulted in perceived benefits for graduate students; professional development for partner teachers; and learning gains for high school students.