Elena Bray Speth, Ph.D.
Mary L. Stephen Faculty Fellow for Scholarly Teaching
Assistant Professor, Biology
phone: (314) 977-6675
Role in the Center
As a Faculty Fellow, Elena serves on the Center Advisory Board and Executive Committee. She participates in developing, implementing and assessing Center programs and collaborates on other initiatives related to her areas of interest.
Areas of Interest and Expertise
Dr. Bray Speth is Assistant Professor of Biology at Saint Louis University. Before coming to SLU in August 2009, she earned her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the DOE-Plant Research Laboratory at Michigan State University, where she studied the cellular and molecular bases of the interaction between plants and bacterial pathogens. Toward the end of her doctorate, she became interested in biology education research and pursued this interest as a postdoc, sponsored by the Michigan State University Center for Research on College Science Teaching and Learning.
At SLU, Elena was hired in the Biology Department to conduct Discipline-Based Education Research. She teaches one large section of Introductory Biology for science majors and a graduate-level course in Scientific Communication. In spring 2013, she will begin teaching biology for education majors. Her work includes undergraduate and graduate students conducting research on college biology teaching and learning. Current work focuses on (a) distributing and scaffolding active and meaningful learning of biology in and out of class; (b) analyzing students' models of complex biological systems; and (c) characterizing students' causal reasoning about biological mechanisms that span multiple levels of organization.
Elena has been active in the CTTL since coming to SLU in 2009. She has participated in reading and working groups related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL); has conducted teaching workshops on designing exams; and, in spring 2012, received an Innovative Teaching Fellowship in the Center, which allowed her the opportunity to teach in the in the CTTL's Learning Studio. She has been named the first-ever Mary L. Stephen Faculty Fellow for Scholarly Teaching. (This faculty fellowship is named in honor of the Center's long-time director, Dr. Mary Stephen, who retired in January 2012, and who remains deeply committed to advancing research on teaching and learning.)