A Q&A with Jane Glazebrook

New associate dean will lead efforts to streamline upper-division curriculum, add advanced courses and oversee development of CBS career services.

Jane Glazebrook, professor in the Department of Plant Biology, recently joined the CBS Dean’s Office as associate dean for faculty and academic affairs. She succeeds Robin Wright, who was named senior associate dean for undergraduate initiatives and head of the newly formed Department of Biology Teaching and Learning. Glazebrook joined the college in 2003 and has taught Genetics 4003, a core course for many CBS students, for the past decade. She served as director of graduate studies for Plant Biological Sciences from 2009-11 and has chaired the department’s promotion and tenure committee.

What are your major priorities going forward?

My top priority is to lead the effort to realign the upper-division curriculum. It hasn’t changed much in recent years while the first-year curriculum has changed quite a lot. The students coming out of Foundations of Biology are really well prepared. As a result, some upper-division courses overlap with what students have already learned. We’d like to make it easier for students to complete core requirements in genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology by the end of their junior year so that they can explore more specialized coursework in their final year.

Are there any examples of what that might look like?

Nathan Springer introduced an epigenetics course based on student interest and enthusiasm for the subject. Students would take his genetics course, get excited about it and ask whether more courses would be offered. Nathan developed his course in response to this student interest. We would like to have more courses like this. One possibility might be to offer half-semester courses on a range of topics of interest to students. The short duration would allow faculty to teach without diverting attention away from research for an extended period.

What are the next steps?

We will convene a task force to determine overall goals for the upper-division curriculum, survey students to understand what topics are of greatest interest, and work with the college’s Educational Policy Committee to develop a plan. Paul Siliciano and David Kirkpatrick are already developing a 3000-level molecular biology course that will become a core part of the curriculum and help eliminate redundancies.