In the early 1980s, two young songwriters, Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, coined the words to a catchy tune that became the theme of a new TV sitcom, Cheers. You probably already know the melody, and your memory can easily be jogged to have you singing, ““where everybody knows your name.””
So where does everybody know your name in the NABT? The answer to this question can be found in one word: Sections!!
According to Jaclyn Reeves-Pepin, NABT Associate Executive Director, ““The NABT Sections are an integral part of our Association because they create professional communities who can and do advocate for teaching biology at all levels. But most importantly, the Sections facilitate member interaction, creating relationships between peers, turning colleagues into friends. It's the relationships that make the NABT different. It's the friendships that make the NABT special.””
As the NABT reorganization continues to proceed smoothly, promoting membership awareness and active participation in these ““forums for increasing professional and scholarly communications and interactions among professionals of similar interests within the framework of the NABT”” is an all-important part of the NABT vision. Sections provide the venue for collaborative opportunities and updated resources for members to develop and enhance their professional performance.
As a formal or informal teacher or scientist, you can find something completely energizing about talking biology, talking ““school,”” talking students, and talking about the plethora of other life-science-related educational interests. The collegial conversations contribute to new insights and are as refreshingly engaging as opening all the windows on a beautiful late spring morning in May.
Take the example of the Outreach Coordinator & Informal Educator Section (OCIE; http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=534). One of the newest Sections, the OCIE provides the setting for communication, mentoring, and professional development for museum educators, zoo educators, library educators, and others who are not formal classroom educators. This is one Section that makes NABT different. It is certainly one reason to connect in person at the NABT Professional Development Conference in Minneapolis in 2010, where all Sections meet.
There is also the dynamic and energetic Four-Year College & University Section, a forum for the exchange of information and ideas that is ““here to serve your needs”” (http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=83). Don't feel left out if you are an educator in a two-year college, because there is a Section for you too (http://nabt2yr.waubonsee.edu/).
Are you a secondary school teacher? Then the NABT BioClub provides dual opportunities for both you and your students to meet role models in the professional biology community and participate in national NABT special programs. The NABT BioClub Section President is waiting to help you connect (http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=19). Even if you are retired, there is a Section for you with a rewarding way of giving back to others, such as encouraging and getting involved in a BioClub in your locale. Talk this up at the Retired Teachers Section (http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=104).
The ““Welcome Home”” message is always hung above the NABT sign that says ““Sections.”” This is one place where you can always go to get notched one step above, but it is perhaps a place that you have not given much thought –– ““A Section……hmmm, sounds pretty interesting!!””
At the NABT, we can truly say, ““Here is your community, we have already built it for you.”” But we can go one step better, by providing you a mechanism for forming your own Section. Make your choice known by conveniently indicating on your membership renewal form that you have a group of members that want to be affiliated in such a manner. First, check out our Sections page (http://www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=15) and see if there is a Section that you can join, propose, invigorate, or grow!!
Sections increase your ability to have an impact. Sections allow for your growth as an individual and for your growth within the profession. Sections are part of an intimate and larger community. People in Sections are passionate and make a difference as leaders in life science education. So, come join us ““where we all want to know your name.””