An International Conference on Problem-Based Learning
in Higher Education

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Problem-Based Learning at University of Delaware

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ITUE Faculty Leaders

Deborah Allen Valerie Hans
Barbara Duch George Watson
Susan Groh Hal White

ITUE Faculty Leaders

Deborah Allen is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware. She joined the faculty in 1984 after a postdoctoral position at Dartmouth Medical School and receiving a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Delaware. In 1993 she began to develop a two-semester PBL course in introductory biology; the materials and methods used in that course have been published in the book “Thinking Towards Solutions: Problem-Based Learning Activities for General Biology” (Saunders 1998). Deborah was principal investigator on Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and National Science Foundation (NSF) grants that sponsored the early development of a program for undergraduate PBL peer group facilitators, and is currently working on an NSF-sponsored project to design a “science semester” for elementary teacher education majors that will incorporate multidisciplinary PBL problems. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of Cell Biology Education and the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, she presents faculty development workshops on PBL and active, group-based strategies on other campuses.
Barbara Duch is associate director of the Mathematics and Science Education Resource Center at the University of Delaware. She has been actively involved in science education reform at the university level for several years, and more recently in the K-12 grades. She is responsible for planning and implementing professional development activities for science teachers in the state, and communicating with university faculty involved in outreach efforts to teachers. Since 1990, she has conducted workshops for faculty on incorporating active learning and cooperative group structures into their classes. She has designed and conducted workshops on incorporating PBL into undergraduate courses since 1992. Barbara has published widely about PBL in undergraduate education, and presents at national and international PBL conferences. In addition, she has developed and taught honors physics courses for pre-med and biology majors, a large general education physical science course, and several physical science courses for in-service teachers, using PBL techniques. She has been a co-principal investigator on several NSF Division of Undergraduate Education grants that promote science education reform and focus on incorporating problem-based learning methods in undergraduate courses. She was also a co-principal investigator on a FIPSE grant to educate undergraduates to become effective group facilitators in PBL courses. Barbara directs a campus-wide project, "Problem-Based Learning: Models for the College Classroom," funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of Delaware.
Susan Groh is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware and joined the faculty in 1984. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University. She is a member of the University Honors Program Affiliated Faculty and uses PBL in teaching Honors General Chemistry for students in the life sciences and engineering. Her research interests are in bioinorganic chemistry (synthetic modeling of enzyme active sites) and educational issues in science. Susan has been using PBL since 1994, and is the recipient of several awards for excellence in undergraduate mentoring and teaching.
Valerie Hans is professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware, where she teaches courses on social science and the law, psychology and the law, jury decision making, and the courts. She received her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Toronto in 1978. Valerie has conducted research and written a number of books and articles about the public's role in courts, particularly the jury system. She regularly incorporates problem-based learning and web-based technology into her undergraduate courses. In 1999 she received the Jan Burrows Graduate Educator Award, an award that recognizes contributions to graduate teaching in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware.
George Watson is an associate dean in the College of Arts & Science and Unidel Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. He joined the faculty in 1987 after a postdoctoral position at AT&T Bell Laboratories and receiving a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Delaware. Recently he has been exploring web-based delivery of instructional materials for development of science and technology literacy among non-science majors in “Silicon, Circuits, and the Digital Revolution” and curriculum reform of engineering physics courses, such as “Electricity and Electronics for Engineers.” His research interests are in condensed matter experimental physics and include CW and picosecond laser spectroscopy; current work focuses on photonic band structure. George is the 1998 Delaware Professor of the Year, awarded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He was the principal investigator on the grant from NSF’s program on Institution-Wide Reform of Undergraduate Education that led to the creation of ITUE; currently he is the principal investigator on an NSF/DUE project to develop PBL curricula for physics.
Hal White is professor of biochemistry and director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program at the University of Delaware. He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1971 after a postdoctoral position in chemistry at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Brandeis University. Between 1994 and 1998, he served as principal investigator on the first NSF/DUE grant on problem-based learning to the University of Delaware and has been involved with subsequent NSF, FIPSE, and Pew Charitable Trusts grants for PBL. As a member of the Education and Professional Development Committee of the American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and ITUE, Hal has conducted numerous PBL workshops in the United States. Currently he is the PBL features editor for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. He draws on his interests in intermediary metabolism, molecular evolution, and protein structure and function as sources for problems in the variety of courses he teaches using PBL. His recent publications relating to PBL deal with the use of the research literature for problems, preparation of peer tutor-facilitators, faculty development, and capstone courses.

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