Dr. Jane Liu is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. She is a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Pomona College and she incorporates elements of information literacy in her teaching.
Jane, we are so pleased to have you on the Advisory Board for the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. You bring a valuable perspective to our work, particularly as a faculty member in the sciences. Please tell us about your position as Associate Professor of Chemistry at Pomona College.
Jane: I have a fantastic job! I was hired to primarily teach biochemistry, which I describe as understanding how cells and organisms work, at a molecular level. I teach this subject in the classroom, mostly to third- and fourth-year undergraduates, but I’m a firm believer that some of the best ways to learn science is to actually do science. So I also engage students in my research lab where I investigate how genes are turned on and off in bacteria. My students and I work side by side, wearing lab coats and gloves, growing bacteria, isolating DNA, RNA and proteins, and doing experiments on these materials to answer questions that we do not know the answer to. There is a great deal of learning that can occur when tackling the unknown – and there are always a few unexpected surprises that are uncovered.
More recently, I’ve wanted to engage younger students and have begun teaching general chemistry, which is mostly populated by first year students. I also developed a new course, aimed at second-year undergraduates, that I call Analysis of Scientific Literature – Demystifying the Approach and the Science. I guide the students through a set of related journal articles and students are given the opportunity to develop their ability to decipher figures, interpret findings, and propose and defend further experiments to test their own hypotheses and questions. I have loved watching the students develop these skills over the course of the semester. We also spent time in class discussing grant writing and funding mechanisms, the process of publishing a journal article, and the challenges and opportunities of being a scientist.
Between the teaching and the research, there is never a dull moment and never a lack of something new to explore. Like I said, I have a fantastic job!
Q: How do define or think about “information literacy?”
Jane: I think of information literacy as the ability to find, evaluate and synthesize information to address a given question. ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Jane Liu"