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Peter Mirabito

Headshot of Professor Peter Mirabito

"Breaking Barriers" Certificate
Disability Resource Center Awards Ceremony

At the risk of putting you on the spot, what contribution to teaching do you believe led to your award recognition during the 2015-2016 academic school year?
I received the "Breaking Barriers" award from the DRC, so I think I was chosen because I've been proactive in addressing accommodations for my students with disabilities and have engaged with the staff at the DRC and CELT in a cooperative way to facilitate learning for students with disabilities.

In your opinion, what are the qualities of a great teacher?
Someone who has the passion and patience to help others learn without getting too much in the way.

What do you find most gratifying about teaching?
Learning from my students.

What makes teaching challenging?
It's like doing an experiment and having almost no control of the conditions yet desperately wanting to figure out how to make it succeed.

How have you navigated those challenges?
Using the scientific method to teach (the approach is called "Scientific Teaching," a term coined by Jo Handelsman and her colleagues when she was at the University of Wisconsin).

What are your interests outside of teaching (i.e., hobbies)?
My family.

Who inspires you? And why?
My wife because she never gives up chasing her dreams.

What is your favorite book and/or author?
The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

What would want to be if you weren’t a teacher?
A student.

What advice would you give to faculty at the beginning of her/his teaching career?
Be passionate, purposeful, and patient.

In your opinion, how can faculty be most effective in the classroom?
Be real.

What resources would you share with other faculty seeking to adopt new teaching practices?
Look for an education journal embedded within your discipline (for example, CBE/Life Science Education for molecular and cellular biology).

Peter Mirabito is Associate Professor of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.