Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2011

Faculty Award winner

Debopam Chakrabarti

 College of Medicine

 Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

My teaching philosophy is to offer students a course that is accurate, comprehensive, and intellectually gratifying where students are presented not only general concepts but also on how these concepts are developed using experimental strategies. In my opinion, the subject should be taught by engendering an understanding of scientific concepts, experimental approaches and their analysis. This pedagogical approach will allow students to understand the process of scientific discovery. I also emphasize disease connections and important medical applications for a “disease down” approach rather than a more traditional “molecules up” approach. This enables students in the class to realize that Molecular Biology concepts are not mere dry facts but is important for understanding molecular basis of diseases and has relevance to every day health-related issues. For example, I discuss how an error in RNA splicing leads to spinal muscle atrophy, one of the most common genetic causes of childhood mortality.

I make an effort to improve my teaching skills by paying attention to comments in the free response section of the student perception to instruction and adjust accordingly. I also consult regularly with the journal “Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Education” for ideas about innovative teaching approaches.

I strive hard to develop scientific curiosity in students who are working in my laboratory and encourage them to present their research in scientific meetings. They have authorship in several publications and a majority of the students working in my laboratory have joined graduate programs at renowned institutions. My commitment to undergraduate education goes beyond classroom teaching and student mentoring. I have taken an active interest in UCF undergraduate education policies through my services as a past member of the University undergraduate research council and undergraduate policy and curriculum committee.