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What Does a Biology Lecturer Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A biology lecturer provides instruction in the study of living things. Lecturers are commonly employed by colleges and universities, but they can also participate in public outreach programs, workplace education, and training in other settings. They typically have advanced degrees in the science of biology and related subjects to qualify them to teach. Some also conduct research as part of their work, and may be involved in committees associated with the biology department of an institution.

One aspect of the job involves curriculum development. A biology lecturer may be assigned several classes and needs to design appropriate curricula considering the subject, level, and any requirements set by government agencies. This can include the creation of a syllabus with a reading schedule and discussions about papers, examinations, and other assignments that may arise over the course of the term. It is common to reuse curricula between classes and years, with some updates for new information, textbook changes, and other events.

In lecture sections, the instructor talks to the class about topics in biology and answers questions. This can include the use of multimedia to provide more information. A biology lecturer may also supervise lab and fieldwork periods, where students engage in experiments to learn more and participate in activities like dissection of specimens. This can require discussing safety issues with students, monitoring activities in the lab, and mentoring students who have difficulty with the lab work.

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Outside of class, a biology lecturer may have office hours to meet with students. These provide an opportunity for people to ask questions, request assistance, and talk about careers in biology and other matters of interest. Students may be able to schedule appointments outside these hours if they want to talk to a lecturer and there is a schedule conflict. Biology lecturers can also conduct research, and may accept some student employees to assist them with projects.

Part-time lecturers may not have additional responsibilities, although they could volunteer for work with the department like being on committees or participating in public outreach. A full-time biology lecturer may be expected to attend department meetings and join one or more committees. These committees are involved in activities like setting department policy, organizing conferences, and deciding which classes to offer. Some lecturers can also act as liaisons with other departments and the administration of the institution, representing their department at faculty functions and other events. This can also involve meetings with community members with concerns about funding and university policy who want to learn more about the classes and other activities offered at the institution.

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