Reinventing Myself as a Professor: The Catalytic Role of SENCER

Terry R. McGuire – Rutgers University

July 2005


I agreed to write this SENCER Backgrounder to describe the types of things that I have done at Rutgers University in bringing SENCER ideals to courses for majors in Genetics and Life Sciences. This paper is most decidedly not a “how-to” narrative. My progress toward changing the curriculum should be viewed as a type of “Drunkard’s walk.” That is, although the averaged path might make a statistically straight line, the actually path veers right and left with (at times) very little forward progress. In order to understand what I am trying to accomplish, I am inviting you to take a journey through my own career as a teacher, scientist and a student.

From the Paper’s Opening

Topics of Interest to the SENCER Community

Provides a first-hand account of the changes made by the author in teaching

  • How changes resulted in significant student learning gains
  • How changes increased the author’s enjoyment of teaching and fundamentally changed his attitude toward students

Discusses how using SENCER principles like current events, ongoing assessment of student learning and active learning increased student and professor engagement

Focuses on the author’s personal experiences with the nature of motivation in student learning and each students’ potential to succeed.

Practical suggestions for beginning the SENCERization of science courses

Full Report

Reinventing Myself as a Professor

Download (PDF, 225KB)

About the Author

Terry R. McGuire

Terry McGuire

Associate Professor of Genetics, Rutgers University

Nelson Biological Laboratories
604 Allison Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-5635
(732) 445-3841

Terry R. McGuire is an Associate Professor of Genetics at Rutgers University. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Department of Genetics. He has published in many different areas including Mendelian and Mathematical Genetics, Behavioral and Neural Genetics, and Ecological Genetics. He is a co-editor of one book, Behavior-Genetic Analysis (with J. Hirsch). He has designed and taught a wide range of courses for majors and non-majors at Rutgers University including Genetics, Genetic Analysis I & II, Behavioral and Neural Genetics, Genetics Laboratory, and Genetics, Law and Social Policy. Genetic Analysis I & II, Behavioral and Neural Genetics are courses that have been redesigned after attending the SENCER Summer Institutes.

Dr. McGuire has been an active participant in the SENCER project (Science Education for the New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities). He first participated as an advanced team member at the 200 SENCER Summer Institute. He brought Rutgers teams to SSI 2003 and SSI 2004. In 2004 he become a core faculty member and was appointed a SENCER Senior Associate at The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. He has been active in regional SENCER symposia and the NJ SENCER group.