Top of page
Skip to main content
Main content

Rachelle SpellTeaching Professor Emerita


  • B.S., Wake Forest University, 1987
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1993

Research Area

  • Genetics, Cell, and Developmental Biology

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching spans graduate lectures on recombination to a mini-course on evolution to Tibetan monks, from large introductory biology classes to small research courses on genome stability. Fantastic experiences developing research-based courses inspire my work as PI with my colleague, Chris Beck, on an NSF-funded network of faculty, REIL-Biology, whose mission it is to bridge the divide between the biology education community and disciplinary researchers in biology to bring authentic research to students in intro lab courses.

I am passionate yet realistic in my efforts to disseminate evidence-based teaching practices.

My scholarship and service as Director of Undergraduate Studies address these research questions:

  1. Despite the identification and dissemination of evidence-based teaching techniques, why has the adoption of these techniques remained low? 
  2. How can institutional factors (departmental governance, promotion standards, and mentoring practices) influence the adoption and sustainability of best teaching practices?
  3. What type of formative and summative teaching evaluation mechanisms best support the development of evidence-based teaching practices?

I help students learn; I help teachers teach. I strive to both help my students develop as scientists and support faculty develop as educators. My work on faculty and curriculum development has launched a research emphasis on how institutional factors can affect teaching practices.