Parker, Joyce M

Parker, Joyce M photo


Science Education
Assistant Professor
 119 North Kedzie Labs
 (517) 884-3469

My research focuses on how undergraduates understand and apply scientific concepts. I am interested in developing assessment questions that diagnose the problems undergraduates' encounter as they learn new material and using that information to develop more effective teaching strategies. In particular, I am interested in how science majors, particularly those becoming science teachers, reason using basic principles such as conservation of matter and energy to monitor their growing understanding of science content. Current projects include analyzing K12 teachers' understanding of biology and the earth sciences and how problem-based learning can be used to improve it.

Recent Publications

  • Joyce M. Parker, Charles W. Anderson, Merle Heidemann, John Merrill, Brett Merritt, Gail Richmond, and Mark Urban-Lurain. 2012. Exploring Undergraduates' Understanding of Photosynthesis Using Diagnostic Question Clusters. CBE Life Sci Educ. 11:47-57. doi:10.1187/cbe.11-07-0054.
  • Richmond, G., Merritt, B., Urban-Lurain, M. & Parker, J. (2010). The development of a conceptual framework and tools to assess undergraduates' principled use of models in cellular biology. CBE – Life Sciences Education 9, 441-452.
  • Sibley, D. F., Anderson, C. W., Heidemann, M., Merrill, J. E., Parker, J. M., & Szymanski, D. W. (2007). Box diagrams to assess students' systems thinking about the rock, water, and carbon cycles. Journal of Geoscience Education, 55(2), 138-146.


  • SME 870 - Teaching College Science
  • TE 501 - Field Instruction for Secondary Science Intern
  • TE 407, 408, 802, 804 - Crafting Teaching Practice, Reflection and Inquiry in Teaching