2022 SABER Election Candidates


Candidate Master List for President-Elect

*Clicking on a candidate's name will take you to that candidate's information*

Candidate's names are listed in alphabetical order by the candidate's last name.


Kelsey Metzger

Abdi Warfa


Candidate Master List for Treasurer

*Clicking on a candidate's name will take you to that candidate's information*

Candidate's names are listed in alphabetical order by the candidate's last name.


Jeffrey Olimpo

Melinda Owens

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This link will take you to the poll June 1 - 15 only.

Candidate Bios

*Listed Alphabetically by Last Name*


Kelsey Metzger (candidate for president-elect)

Associate Professor & Director of Faculty Development, Center for Learning Innovation

University of Minnesota Rochester

https://r.umn.edu/learning-research-and-innovation/faculty/Metzger


History of SABER Involvement

I've been an active member of SABER for the past 11 years, participating in all but one national meeting and recently presenting at my first SABER West. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of you in my previous roles in the organization on the Steering Committee (2017-2019), co-chairing the inaugural Election Committee (2019), on the Mentoring Committee (2020), chairing the Tenure and Promotion SIG (2018-2022), as the unofficial SABER swag czar, and currently as a member of the Development and Growth Committee (2021-2022). SABER feels like home to me: I have met friends, collaborators, role models, and friendly critics because of SABER, all of whom have been invaluable to me as a DBER scholar committed to seeking and using data to inform practice.

Professional Activities Aligned with SABER Mission

My current academic position involves research focused on undergraduate learning; teaching; and service. As a faculty member at a small "startup" campus focused on education innovation that is part of a larger multi-campus university, I have been engaged in an extensive range of service activities across nearly every facet of the institution. Through serving on committees, task forces, and elected positions within university governance, I have cultivated the ability to work effectively alongside colleagues representing diverse stakeholder interests and campus units. These experiences have enabled me to learn a lot about how different groups function and what strategies generally work well to get things done. Over the past several years, I have taken on additional mentoring and faculty development roles, and will begin a new role as Director of Faculty Development at UMR as an extension of my tenured faculty position.

Rationale for Interest in SABER Leadership

Over the coming years, I envision SABER growing in both membership and influence, likely expanding to additional regional conferences as well as forming more extensive collaborations with industry partners and like-minded professional organizations. In this next phase of growth, I would bring a commitment to the organization’s roots - ‘Show me the data!’ - while also embracing a tolerance for ambiguity, and courage to go new places as an organization (literally and figuratively!). With many members of SABER serving on committees dedicated to advancing each of our society’s goals, I would look forward to engaging in collective leadership to plan how SABER can best utilize our collective resources to further our organization’s goals, with a particular emphasis on strategic, inclusive growth and sustained organizational connectivity.

Recent Scholarly Contributions in Biology Education Research

Forthcoming: Metzger, K.J, Wright J., Erdmann R., Lemer; B., & Olson R.L.O. Mileage May Vary: How Sense of Community in First Year Seminar Varies Across Student Identities and Modes of Instruction. The Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. Accepted May, 2022.

Forthcoming: Craker, B., Erdman, R., Metzger, K.J. The Mutual Preference Method: Capitalizing on Student Relationships to Guide Group Formation. American Biology Teacher. Accepted January 2022.

Forthcoming: Metzger, K. J. and Via, Z. Warming up the Cold Call: In pursuit of inclusive pedagogies and equitable participation in STEM classrooms. American Biology Teacher. Accepted October 2021.

Fyfe, E. R‚… Metzger, K.J, …Motz, B. A. (2021). Many Classes: Assessing the Generalizable Effect of Immediate Feedback Versus Delayed Feedback Across Many College Classes. Adv Methods Pract Psychol Sci. 

Metzger, K. J., and Langley, D. (2020). The Room Itself is Not Enough: Student Engagement in Active Learning Classrooms. College Teaching.

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Abdi Warfa (candidate for president-elect)

Assistant Professor, Biology Teaching and Learning

University of Minnesota

http://cbs.umn.edu/warfa-research-group


History of SABER Involvement

I have been a member since 2016. As a budding biological education researcher, I found SABER home not only to present work coming out of my group at the U of Minnesota but to network with colleagues interested in moving the young field of BER forward. In SABER, I found scholars committed to improving biology teaching and learning and strengthening the methodological approaches we use to conduct our research. As part of the society, I have been a member of the Mentoring Committee, the methods group and, following the murder of George Floyd, the Sense of Place Subcommittee that discussed the physical location of the SABER conference in the context of social justice and antiracism. I am also a member of the PEER network special interest group.

Professional Activities Aligned with SABER Mission

I describe myself as a mid-career academic whose interest lies in improving teaching and learning within the context of STEM education. I have served as a member of the Executive Committee of my department, our Graduate School Advisory Board, and currently serve as a member of our university’s Senate Research Committee, in addition to departmental level committees. I similarly serve on the executive committee of SEISMIC. I also serve as an editorial board member for both PLOS ONE and CBE Life Science Education. This combination of serving both as an editorial member and various committees both within SABER and my university senate, department and graduate school provides me with the necessary skills to fulfill the duties of this position.

Rationale for Interest in SABER Leadership

The experiences I had serving various committees in and out of SABER made me think about the role professional societies play in improving student teaching and learning. As someone interested in strengthening the methodological approaches used to do BER, and who benefited from SABER membership, I also see serving as paying forward. My goals will be to strengthen the organization and encourage the membership in thinking about the larger issues of educational measurement, sense of place, and ensuring equitable practices. One particular issue I would like us to re-visit is where our annual meetings are held. I would also suggest adding permanently a virtual component to the conference so that those who cannot attend in-person can participate.

Recent Scholarly Contributions in Biology Education Research

My research group at the U of Minnesota does interdisciplinary research that blends aspects of biology, educational theory, cognitive science, and educational research methodologies that examines classroom dynamics, discourse and climate. We have published multiple papers in this area in various journals (e.g., PLOS ONE, Int. J. of STEM Educ., Int. J. of Sci Educ). We have also made wide contributions on research methods in DBER (e.g., the use of mixed methods in BER, CBE Life Sci Educ) and did meta-analysis on instructional strategies. In addition to our specific research interests, we made contributions related to DEIJ issues. For example, I was a co-author of Frontiers in Education article describing SABER’s efforts to become anti-racist.


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Jeffrey Olimpo (candidate for treasurer)

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

The University of Texas at El Paso

https://expertise.utep.edu/profiles/jtolimpo

History of SABER Involvement

I have been involved in SABER as both a conference attendee and conference presenter for nearly a decade. Participation in the national SABER conference provided an early, formative experience in my career that helped shape both my understanding of DBER methods and the diversity of foci that could be explored in the field. As a postdoctoral fellow attending SABER for the first time, it also offered me a sense of community, which personally motivated me and gave me confidence to pursue DBER as my primary area of scholarship.

I strongly believe in creating a supportive environment for both "new" and "veteran" DBER colleagues and have likewise participated in reviewing SABER abstracts and in SABER's networking and mentoring groups.

Professional Activities Aligned with SABER Mission

Currently, I am PI or Co-PI on a portfolio of NSF grants totaling ~$2 million. Among these grants are an S-STEM initiative, in which I am responsible for facilitating awarding of student scholarships and organization of program curricular and co-curricular activities, as well as an RCN-UBE initiative that involves managing funds for mentors/network fellows, network events, and other program activities. As treasurer, I will capitalize upon these experiences in small- and large-scale budgeting efforts to support innovative SABER initiatives (described below).


More broadly, in alignment with SABER’s mission, and given my own commitment to advancing DBER, I serve as a Senior Editor for both the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education and CourseSource. Previously, I served as the Vice-Chair and Chair for ASM’s Conference for Undergraduate Educators, wherein I was responsible for organizing programming for conference attendees. I continue to be involved in DBER programming efforts through my participation and/or leadership in several research coordination networks (e.g., ENCOUR; BioTAP).

Rationale for Interest in SABER Leadership

As a member of the leadership team, I believe I can effect change that increases the inclusive nature of the organization. Specifically, as treasurer, I am interested in leveraging funds to support the inclusion of emergent DBER scholars within the SABER community and broader DBER networks. This will include explicit attention to developing and sustaining programming for [under]graduate, postbacc, postdoctoral, and early-career DBER scholars as well as creating an international scholars initiative to meaningfully involve colleagues outside of the U.S. Further, I would advocate for the use of funds to establish new regional meetings that advance SABER's mission of disseminating high-quality scholarship.

Recent Scholarly Contributions in Biology Education Research

As a DBER scholar, my research primarily focuses on the contextual/situational factors within course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) learning environments that impact student and faculty outcomes as well as the professional development of CURE instructors. Within the last five years, our research team has produced 24 publications, with four additional manuscripts under review, and has authored 69 invited and accepted presentations. More than 80% of these deliverables have involved [under]graduate student authors, and all of them have involved intra-/inter-institutional collaborators. 

Given my commitment to advancing DBER, I serve as a Senior Editor for both the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education and CourseSource.


Melinda Owens (candidate for treasurer)

Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Biological Sciences

University of California, San Diego

https://biology.ucsd.edu/research/faculty/mtowens.html

History of SABER Involvement

SABER has been critical for growing my connections within the biology education community and helping me develop as a scholar in the field. I joined SABER as a postdoc in 2016. The conference was my first opportunity to meet many people outside of my lab involved in biology education research. Since then, I have regularly attended SABER and SABER West and have been leading the Writing Buddy program for the PEERs Network. 

In the summer of 2020, I co-led the Sense of Place subcommittee, part of SABER's Racial Justice Action Group. We brought together many different SABER folks, particularly people of color, to determine whether to keep the conference in Minneapolis and how the conference could honor and involve local communities of color. 

Professional Activities Aligned with SABER Mission

Through co-leading the Sense of Place subcommittee, I got to know many folks in SABER and hear many voices. I am confident that I can work together with the other members of the executive committee to prepare what we need to make good decisions. While I have never been treasurer of any society, I have experience making budgets through writing various grants.

Rationale for Interest in SABER Leadership

SABER has been instrumental in connecting me with many wonderful folks involved in biology education, and I hope to use my position as treasurer to help expand access to more folks. When the Sense of Place subcommittee polled SABER members, many folks said that they had no or limited funding for their own professional development, which made it difficult for them to participate in the SABER conference. Since then, SABER has been investigating and implementing ways to lower the costs of participating in SABER. I would like to continue that to expand the biology education community.

Recent Scholarly Contributions in Biology Education Research

I am particularly interested in using and developing new tools to measure the extent to which instructors use evidence-based teaching methods. As a postdoc, I helped develop DART (Decibel Analysis for Research in Teaching), which uses audio recordings to estimate the percentage of time spent in active learning. Recently, I have been collaborating with a large team of BER folks to correlate an instructor's pedagogical style, such as usage of active learning, to effects on students such as grades and survey scores. We published a paper last year showing that in the first quarter of the pandemic, at one institution, student sense of community decreased, but grades increased. I also mentor undergrads and master's students in BER.


This link will take you to the poll June 1 - 15 only.


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