April Maskiewicz Cordero, Ph.D.

Dean for Educational Effectiveness
Professor of Biology
Science and Religion Club Faculty Advisor

Dr. April M. Cordero is the Dean for Educational Effectiveness. She has been a member of the PLNU community since 2007 starting as faculty in the Department of Biology and the Director of the University NOW program. Her research focused on developing more effective approaches for teaching biology that enabled students to develop not only factual knowledge, but biological ways of thinking and reasoning about the living world. As a Christian biologist trained in science education research, she was in a unique position to investigate science students’ perceptions of the relationship between scientific issues that evoke controversy (i.e. origins, evolution, human origins) and Christian faith. Dr. Cordero continues to conduct research, speaks at churches and universities across the nation about faith/science integration, and is active in several professional development projects with schoolteachers as well as university faculty.

In 2020, after a year of serving as an interim Associate Dean for Assessment and Instruction, Dr. Cordero was appointed Dean for Educational Effectiveness. In this role, she works with faculty and staff across campus to promote and enact the vision for a PLNU Developmental Learning Commons model aimed at ensuring the opportunity for equitable, quality learning experiences for all students. Dr. Cordero provides administrative and budgetary oversight and leadership to offices and departments that directly support classroom instruction, including the Ryan Library, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Educational Access Center, and the Office of Instructional Technology. Additionally she is responsible for engaging faculty and staff in program review, assessment, and evidence-informed decision-making.

Research Gate

PLNU Viewpoint: A Frightening New World? Contemplating The Role of Tomorrow’s Technology

PLNU Viewpoint: Fully Becoming Who We Are Called to Be

PLNU TEDx talk: The E Word

Check Out April's Website!

Education

  • Ph.D., Mathematics and Science Education, University of California, San Diego, and San Diego State University
  • M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, University of California, San Diego
  • B.S., Biology, University of California, San Diego

Courses Taught

  • Ecological and Evolutionary Systems – BIO 2011
  • Ecology and Conservation – BIO 1005
  • Research Methodology – BIO 6043
  • Evolution – BIO 6083
  • Senior Seminar – BIO 4097
  • Science Education Seminar – BIO 6011

Experience in Field

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, 2006 – 2007
  • Adjunct Faculty, Department of Physics, San Diego State University, 2003
  • Professional Development Instructor, SD Science Faith Alliance, Teachers Grades K – 12, 2012 and 2015
  • Instructor for BioLogy by the Sea, Christian School Teachers Grades 6 – 12, summer 2011, 2012, and 2014
  • University Content Specialist, San Diego City Schools Summer Institute, summer 2005 and 2006

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Advisor, PLNU Science and Religion Club, 2015 – present
  • Advisor, PLNU, Virus:  Biology Department Newsletter, 2018 – present
  • BioLogos Advisory Council Member, 2019 – 2022
  • Advisory Board Member, Developing the Inventory of Biotic Climate Literacy (IBCL). Emily Holt and Julie Sexton, University of Northern Colorado.  NSF Funded, 2018 – 2021
  • Advisory Board Member, Gordon Research Conference for Undergraduate Biology Education Research, 2014 – present
  • Conference Leader and Co-Organizer for the NSF RCN-UBE Best Practices in Introductory Biology Workshop, November 2013
  • Steering Committee Member and Conference Co-Organizer for Introductory Biology Education Specialists' Group, Supported by an NSF Research Coordination Network in Undergraduate Biology Education Grant, 2010 – 2013
  • Biology Education Consultant, American Association for the Advancement of Science – Project 2061, Assessment Task Analysis, August 2007
  • Journal Article Reviewer, Teaching in Ecology Education, CBE–Life Sciences Education, Bioscience, ASA’s Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Science Education Forum
  • Professional Memberships: National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Ecological Society of America, American Scientific Affiliation, American Institute of Biological Sciences 

Awards and Honors

  • BioLogos Voices Speaker Bureau, 2016 – present
  • American Scientific Association Fellow, 2019 – present
  • Teachers Noticing Teachers Professor, PLNU, fall 2010
  • Jean Fort Dissertation Prize, UCSD, 2006
  • Academic Honors: Honor Society Phi Kappa Phi, 2002 – 2006
  • TA Excellence in Teaching Award, UCSD Department of Biology, 2004 – 2005
  • Recognition for the Athena Pinnacle Educator Award, Educational Nominee, 2000

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • Silva, M. & Maskiewicz, A. (2016). Understanding Causal Relationships in Food Webs Using Data Rich Problem Tasks. American Biology Teacher, 78(8), 635-641.
  • Maskiewicz, A. (2015). Navigating the Challenges of Teaching Responsively: An Insider's Perspective. In A. Robertson, R. Scherr & D. Hammer (Eds.), Responsive Teaching in Science & Mathematics (pp.105-125). New York: Routledge.
  • Lodahl, M. E., & Maskiewicz, A. C. (2014). Renewal in Love: Living Holy Lives in God's Good Creation. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press.
  • White, J. & Maskiewicz, A. (2014). Understanding Cellular Respiration in Terms of Matter and Energy Within Ecosystems. American Biology Teacher, 76(6), 408-414.
  • Maskiewicz, A. & Lineback, J. (2013). “Misconceptions Are So Yesterday.” CBE-Life Sciences Education, 12,(3), 352–356.
  • Maskiewicz, A. & Winters, V. (2012). Understanding the Co-Construction of Inquiry Practices: A Case Study of a Responsive Teaching Environment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(4), 429-464.
  • Maskiewicz, A., Griscom, H. & Welch, N. (2012). Using Targeted Active-Learning Exercises and Diagnostic Question Clusters to Improve Students’ Understanding of Carbon Cycling in Ecosystems. Life Sciences Education; CBE, 11, 58-67.
  • Hartley, L., Momsen, J., Maskiewicz, A. & D’Avanzo, C. (2012). Energy and Matter: Differences in Discourse in Physical and Biological Sciences Can Be Confusing for Introductory Biology Students. BioScience, 62(5), 488-496.
  • Alvarado, M. & Maskiewicz, A. (2011). Teaching High School Physiology Using a Popular TV Medical Drama. The American Biology Teacher, 73(6), 322-328.

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