Picture of Susan L. Elrod

Susan L. Elrod

Executive Director

Project Kaleidoscope

F21 Class of 2001

Dr. Susan Elrod holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis (1995) and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from California State University, Chico (1986). After completing her Ph.D., she was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at Novozymes Biotech, Inc. in Davis, CA where she received several patents for her work on the enhancement of protein production using genetic techniques. Since joining the faculty at Cal Poly in 1997 she has taught extensively, conduced research and held several leadership positions. Elrod is currently Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the College of Science and Mathematics and Director of the university Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME).

Dr. Elrod has a strong commitment to science education both as an instructor and science education researcher. As an Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department she has taught courses in microbiology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, and genetics. She has co-authored a Genetics textbook and is currently writing a new textbook that based on a novel inquiry-based genetics teaching strategy. She has also been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant entitled "Literature-Based Scientific Learning in Genetics" that will support research regarding the impact of this new approach on undergraduate learning in genetics.

Throughout her career, Dr. Elrod has established an extensive record of leadership and service. As an undergraduate student at Chico State she was Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President. Then at Cal Poly, she has served as Associate Chair of the Biological Sciences Department, Chair of the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee, Special Assistant to the Provost, and Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning where she has also been a workshop facilitator since 2001.

Dr. Elrod has been a leader in a wide array of STEM education initiatives, including the PKAL Keck Foundation-funded initiative, Facilitating Interdisciplinary Learning, and several STEM teacher education projects, such as CSU’s STAR (Science Teacher and Researcher), the California STEM Innovation Network (CSI-N) Initiatives, and a study of Elementary School Teacher Science Education with the California Council on Science and Technology. She attended the Harvard Institute for Higher Education in 2004 and is a Project Kaleidoscope F21 faculty member. During 2006-7, she completed an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship at The Colorado College where she studied critical leadership issues regarding integrative models of undergraduate education and STEM education reform.