Initial Publication Date: January 15, 2014

American Society for Microbiology

38,000 members
Education staff lead: Kelly Gull, Irene Hulede, Amy Chang,

The mission of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide. To achieve these goals, ASM:

  • Supports programs of education, training and public information
  • Publishes journals and books;
  • Convenes meetings, workshops and colloquia
  • Promotes the contributions and promise of the microbiological sciences
  • Recognizes achievement and distinction among its practitioners
  • Sets standards of ethical and professional behavior

ASM efforts to improve undergraduate education help ensure that the microbiological sciences are recognized universally, integrated into curricula at all undergraduate institutions, and used as a tool for developing future workforces. Also, these efforts help ensure that scholarship in microbiology education is recognized and rewarded, and that students and educators of microbiology play a greater role in the local, national and global community.

One of the most important impacts ASM is making in undergraduate education is supporting faculty and next-generation scientists to meet the needs of today's constantly evolving global community. We provide this support on two levels. One is by directly supporting undergraduates with research experiences and training. For example, there is the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (, a national summer research program, or the ASM Undergraduate Research Capstone (, which offers post-summer-research professional development. The other means is by providing undergraduate faculty with resources and programs that position them as leaders and mentors for their peers and students. Examples here include publishing ASM-vetted guidelines such as the ASM Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology in 2011 and the ASM Guidelines for Biosafety in Teaching Laboratories in 2012 (see for links to both documents) or launching initiatives such as the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) (, ASM Biology Scholars Program, and the ASM MicrobeLibrary (, all of which guide and publish member efforts in the evidence-based teaching, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and much more.

Premier Contribution to Faculty Development

The Annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE), a four-day meeting where educators learn and share the latest information in the biological sciences and education research.

Since its establishment in 1994, each ASMCUE has featured many opportunities for faculty to network with colleagues, present best practices, meet international leaders in research and education, and more. The program includes plenary, concurrent, poster, and exhibit sessions, participants engage in formal and informal small group discussions among colleagues all focused on the same goal – improving teaching and learning in the biological sciences. The audience is diverse in many ways, including geographical location, length of teaching career, and the types of students taught. Most are educators from a variety of institutions who teach allied health, biology, biotechnology, and microbiology courses, and many also teach non-science general education majors. Event attendance has tripled in its two decades, with nearly 400 attendees currently taking part annually. Each year, nearly half of all ASMCUE participants are attending for the first time.

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE). In vol. 12, no. 1 (May 2011), ASM education director Amy Chang discusses the origin and impact of ASMCUE in the article "A Retrospective Look at 20 Years of ASM Education Programs (1990-2010) and a Prospective Look at the Next 20 Years (2011-2030)." In addition, ASMCUE abstracts have been published in each May issue of the journal since 2010, providing authors with citations for their work in education research. JMBE is indexed internationally and has more than 2,000 online subscribers.

Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. This 2011 report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) acknowledges ASM's contributions to undergraduate education, particularly citing ASMCUE (p. 60-61) as a venue that advances the scholarship of teaching and learning in biology.

Additional Undergraduate Education Activities of ASM

  • The ASM Biology Scholars Program (BSP) is an initiative to empower biologists as leaders in science education reform. The Program has prepared over 200 Biology Scholars in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and leadership in the life sciences community.
  • Website of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE), ASM's premier journal for undergraduate microbiology and biology educators
  • Online springboard for all ASM Education Board events and initiatives for undergraduate STEM faculty