Perspective from a Teaching Mentor: Dr. Lisa Rezende on the Value of Co-Teaching

Oct. 10, 2023
Lisa Rezende

Dr. Lisa Rezende served as a faculty teaching mentor for Dr. Joon Cho, 2022-2023 Postdoc Pathways fellow at the Phoenix campus of the University of Arizona Medical School. She shares with us some of her insights into how co-teaching has positively influenced her teaching practice and what she’s learned from the experience.

As a teaching-focused career-track faculty member, I have been honored to co-teach my large Introductory Biology course with several graduate students and new faculty. Co-teaching helps me look at my courses through a new lens, and the other instructors always give me new ideas that improve the course. Each co-teaching experience injects a new perspective into a course that I teach three times a year, every year. Introductory biology is a broad course, and I have been lucky to co-teach with instructors with different research expertise. Each has brought their perspective to the class, and students are excited to hear about their research.So when Kristin reached out to me last Fall about co-teaching with a postdoctoral fellow in the CIRTL program, I jumped at the chance.

My involvement with CIRTL in Spring 2023 allowed me to co-teach the online version of Introductory Biology with Dr. Joon Cho, a postdoctoral fellow at the Phoenix campus of the University of Arizona Medical School. It was such a pleasure to have someone coming straight from coursework on evidence-based teaching look at my course and see possibilities to improve student learning. Joon gave me great ideas for improving my course, including adding a concept mapping activity in a jargon-heavy section of the course and developing a new case study on genetically modified yeast. I have continued to use both in class today.

What I love about mentoring with the CIRTL program is knowing that I am helping train the next generation of college instructors. This type of hands-on training in evidence-based teaching was not available to me during graduate school. It makes me happy that the CIRTL participants leave the program having taught in an active learning setting and can discuss their experience as they interview for their next positions. Knowing this work has an impact beyond my class makes me want to be a mentor whenever I have the opportunity.