Kelsey Metzger, DA credits her love of biology and the outdoors to her parents encouraging her to play outside as a child. Originally from north of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Metzger moved to Rochester for a post-doctoral position with University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) in 2009.
At the start of her undergraduate degree, Metzger wasn’t sure she wanted to be a biologist, however, she thrived in her biology classes. As a first-generation college student, she became intrigued with the concept of how students learn best and what traits an effective educator possessed. Her doctoral program allowed her to not only continue learning about biology but also intentionally learn teaching skills through classes that focused on pedagogy.
Metzger is a faculty member of the Center for Learning Innovation at UMR where she teaches biology and upper-division genetics. A life-long learner, she appreciates UMR’s innovative approach to teaching.
“I like learning with the students,” Metzger says, “and UMR’s focus on student-learning allows me to get a lot of feedback from students to see how I can be a better teacher.”
Being in the heart of the medical community in Rochester makes being a biologist easy for Metzger because there’s always new information being released about what she teaches, especially in genetics, clinical genetics and genome research. Though some may be uncomfortable teaching without knowing the full picture, the idea of learning alongside students about new discoveries is exciting for Metzger. “It’s exciting to teach about something that we don’t have all the answers to,” she says.
In addition to teaching at UMR, Metzger is also UMR’s Faculty Teaching Fellow for the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI). Through her Fellowship, Metzger provides leadership with the following teaching-related initiatives: 1) Cornerstone Community of Practice and Assessment Plan; 2) SoTL Connections (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning); 3) Mini-cohort for new faculty at UMR; and 4) Inclusivity and Diversity.
“Over my years of teaching and learning, I’ve adopted this role that supports others who also teach,” says Metzger. “I talk to new faculty, discuss opportunities for professional development and talk about best practices. I also talk to others outside of the University of Minnesota System about how teaching and learning is different at UMR. This role with the CEI also allows me to connect people with resources.”
As she teaches and guides students on how to find answers, Metzger’s hopes they become more self-succinct and confident to learn, seek out new knowledge and make sense of the world. She takes comfort in the fact that her students will see the content she teaches, whether it is biology or genetics, again and in more detail in the future.
“I hope they become more resilient investigators to build the skills and answer the questions for themselves.”