UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology - Janet Branchaw

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Professor Janet Branchaw

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Professor Janet Branchaw

Assistant Professor

103B 445 Henry Mall  binoculars icon
MADISON, WI 53706-1577


Personal Biography

Janet Branchaw is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Science Education and Community Engagement (WISCIENCE).


Ph D, Physiology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

MS, Physiology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

BS, Zoology, German
Iowa State University
Ames, IA



Teaching Interests

Professor Branchaw has taught a biology freshman seminar, introductory biology, honors biology, human physiology, and medical physiology. She has also authored two curricula, Entering Research and Entering Mentoring, to train and support beginning undergraduate researchers and their research mentors. Most recently, she developed and is teaching Kinesiology 235, Human Physiology and Health.

Program and Curriculum Development

  • Branchaw, J.L., & Cary, T.
    Title: Biology Conceptual Elements Learning Framework
    Date(s): January 1, 2015 - October 15, 2016
    Type: Biology Course/Program Curricular Design and Assessment Tool
    New or Revised: New
    Type: Undergraduate
    Effort: The Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: Call to Action report (AAAS, 2011) has inspired and supported a nation-wide movement to restructure undergraduate biology curricula to address overarching disciplinary concepts and competencies. The report outlines the concepts and competencies generally, but does not provide a detailed framework to guide the development of the learning outcomes, instructional materials, and assessment instruments needed to create a reformed biology curriculum. We present a detailed Vision and Change core concept framework that articulates key components that transcend subdisciplines and scales for each overarching biological concept, the Conceptual Elements (CE) Framework. The CE Framework was developed using a grassroots approach of iterative revision and incorporates feedback from over 60 biologists and undergraduate biology educators from across the United States. The final validation step resulted in strong national consensus with ≥92% of responders agreeing that each core concept list was ready for use by the biological sciences community, as determined by scientific accuracy and completeness.
    Download file.

Research Interests

Professor Branchaw's current research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative approaches to undergraduate science education, with a special emphasis on undergraduate research, assessment of student learning and broadening participation in science among underrepresented groups.


  • Branchaw, J.L., Pfund, C.E., & Rediske, R. (2010). Entering Research Facilitator’s Manual: Workshops for Students Beginning Research in Science. Entering Research Facilitator’s Manual: Workshops for Students Beginning Research in Science, (pp. 279). W. H. Freeman.
    Abstract: For students whose experience with science has been primarily in the classroom, it can be difficult to identify and contact potential mentors, and to navigate the transition to a one-on-one, mentor-student relationship. This is especially true for those who are new to research, or who belong to groups that are underrepresented in research. The Entering Research workshops offer a mechanism to structure the independent research experience, and help students overcome these challenges. These workshops introduce students to the culture of research, teaching valuable research skills, and alleviating some of the work of faculty and lab personnel associated with mentoring novice researchers. The materials in this manual can easily be adapted for a number of venues, including individual, one-time workshops; intensive summer research programs for undergraduates or pre-college students; professional development workshops for beginning graduate students; or as a way to support students working in an individual faculty member’s research group.

Awards and Honors

  • Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award
    Organization: University of Wisconsin System
    Purpose: Teaching
    Date(s): 2011
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