I have had the good fortune to work at Smith College, an institution that prides itself on excellence in teaching. I have continued to learn from my colleagues at Smith, and now from colleagues dedicated to teaching at other institutions. A fantastic resource is the faculty involved in Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience or FUN. 

My courses have ranged over the years, starting from my roots in experimental psychology, and then veering over to neuroscience. Now I devote myself to supporting our excellent major in neuroscience. I would be delighted to consult with others about paths to developing a strong neuroscience major for undergraduates.

We have a popular and rigorous Neuroscience major. Every student graduates with at least one year of hands-on  student-directed research experience. These research courses are offered with limited enrollments and intensive professor involvement, creating environments that have been shown to minimize the impact of prior educational background on current academic success. Currently, 27% of our majors come from groups under-represented in the sciences. Neuroscience ranks second at the college in the number of Honors theses supervised.  In AY 2022-23, of our 29 graduates, nine students (31%) completed honors.

Our Neuroscience Program faculty strive for Universal Design for Learning in our classrooms. We are eager early adopters of new ideas for increasing inclusivity in the science classroom.

Our course for sophomore neuroscience majors, Experimental Methods in Neuroscience, offers a wide range of opportunities for students to conduct research. For many students, the highlight is the opportunity to cut and stain their first brain! All enjoy working in a small team to conduct an experiment that has never been done before, building on the most current published journal articles.

The 2023 syllabus for Experimental Methods in Neuroscience is here: Nsc_230_syllabus_2023. We focused on hemorrhagic  stroke in zebrafish embryos up to 3 dpf. Students focused on translational research design as they conducted studies that might offer hope for new treatments for stroke.