Bethany Stone, assistant teaching professor in the Division of Biological Sciences since 2004, hopes to inspire and engage students with science. She educates students about science topics that are relevant to their lives and guides students through personal development. Stone teaches introductory biology courses and courses focusing on botany, infectious diseases and genetic diseases.
“Bethany is energetic, excited — and clearly understands her students and wants them to do well and reach their full potential,” says John David, director of the Division of Biological Sciences. “Bethany is quite simply the kind of teacher that we all want to be and that every student dreams of having at least once in his or her career.”
Stone applies research techniques to improve her teaching. Each semester she surveys students on difficult-to-understand topics, such as DNA. Then she takes the data and works to improve the way she teaches the topic. Using feedback from the survey concerning DNA, she created a digital animation that increased student understanding by 27 percent compared to traditional teaching methods.
Stone’s teaching centers on turning a topic feared by students into a topic students feel comfortable discussing with others. Stone invites students to come to her office hours, where they make deeper connections with her and gain better understanding of science.
“Not only were we welcomed into her office and encouraged to talk freely about our hometowns and our interests, but we were also encouraged to visit her office again at any point in the semester,” says Kathleen Heermann, an MU alumna and current physical therapy graduate student. “Most important to me, I felt that I had made a connection at MU. I had a personal, first-name relationship with a professor — the kind of relationship that had always motivated me in high school.”
Previously Stone received the Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award.
Stone earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University and a doctorate from the University of Missouri.