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Sally Hoskins

Faculty and Staff Profiles

Sally Hoskins

Sally Hoskins is a developmental neurobiologist currently focusing on designing and testing a teaching/learning strategy that uses close analysis of primary literature to demystify and humanize science. See for description of the National Science Foundation-supported CREATE project.

MR614 (office) | MR607 (lab)
Marshak Science Building
Phone Number: 
212-650-8213 (office)
Secondary Phone: 
212-650-8573 (lab)
Personal Website: 
View my website >>

Dr. Hoskins’ interests are developmental neurobiology and the teaching/learning of science.  With NSF support, she is currently testing intensive analysis of primary literature (journal articles) coupled with email interviews of paper authors as a way to demystify and humanize science for undergraduates at CCNY and beyond.


Ph.D. in Biology, University of Chicago, 1982
B.S. in Biology, University of Illinois (Urbana), 1975

Courses Taught

Biology 10100 - Introduction to Biology
Biology 31600 - Development and Evolution
Biology 35500 - Introduction to Analysis of Scientific Literature Using CREATE
Biology 37500 - Developmental Biology
Biology 37900 - Development of the Nervous System
Science 10001 - Man and Nature: Life

Research Interests

Professor Hoskins is a developmental biologist interested in the development of neural specificity and in how best to design teaching approaches that promote student learning and retention of understanding.  Her recent work has focused on the C.R.E.A.T.E. project, an approach developed at CCNY with National Science Foundation support.  The C.R.E.A.T.E. (Consider, Read, Elucidate hypotheses, Analyze data, and Think of the next Experiment) approach uses intensive analysis of primary literature (journal articles) as the focus of a an elective course for upper level undergraduates.  Students read series of papers from individual labs to examine the arc of an evolving research project, and avoid abstracts and discussion sections in favor of close and critical examination of experimental design, methods, data presented, interpretations, models, alternative explanations, and possible directions for followup experiments.  Late in the semester students communicate with paper authors via an email survey posing their own questions, thus gaining unique insight into 'the people behind the papers'.  This method produces gains in students' critical thinking ability, content understanding, attitudes toward science and epistemological beliefs.

With ongoing support from the National Science Foundation "Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science" program, the method is currently being expanded to a nationally distributed group of 4 and two year colleges and universities, through intensive faculty development workshops to be run in summer 2012 and 2013, with co PI Dr. Kristy Kenyon (Colleges of Hobart and William Smith). The C.R.E.A.T.E. process provides students with transferable approaches to reading and analysis that can be applied to any science reading.  At the same time, the approach shifts students' attitudes about the creativity of scientific research and about their own potential as scientists.


Recent Publications:

Hoskins, S. (2010) Teaching science for understanding: focusing on who, what and why. Chapter 8 in: Science and the Educated American: A Core Component of Liberal Education. Ed. Jerrold Meinwald, John G. Hildebrand. American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge MA.

Hoskins, S. (2010) Developing critical reading and analysis skills by analyzing newspaper science using CREATE The American Biology Teacher, 72(7), 415-420.

Bauerle, C., A. DePass, D. Lynn, C. O'Connor, S. Singer, M. Withers, C.W. Anderson, S. Donovan, S.Drew, D. Ebert-May, L. Gross, S.G. Hoskins, J. Labov, D. Lopatto, W. McClatchey, P. Varma-Nelson, N. Pelaez, M. Poston, K. Tanner, D. Wessner, H. White, W. Wood, D. Wubah (2011) Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: A call to action  (Brewer, C., and D. Smith, eds.) American Association for the Advancement of Science: Washington, DC.

Duncan, D., Lubman, A., and Hoskins, S.G. (2011) Introductory Biology Textbooks Under- Represent Scientific Process. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, North America. Available at: <>.  Paper featured in Science magazine as an “Editor’s Choice” in February 2012.

Hoskins, S.G., Lopatto, D., and Stevens, L.M. (2011) The CREATE Approach to Primary Literature Shifts Undergraduates’ Self-Assessed Ability to Read and Analyze Journal Articles, Attitudes about Science, and Epistemological Beliefs CBE Life Sci Educ 10:368-378. Paper chosen for 2012 “Highlights” edition of CBE-Life Sciences Education.

Gottesman, Alan J. and Hoskins, Sally G. (2013) CREATE Cornerstone: Introduction to Scientific Thinking, a New Course for STEM-Interested Freshmen, Demystifies Scientific Thinking through Analysis of Scientific Literature CBE Life Sci Educ 12:59-72. Paper chosen for 2013 “Highlights” edition of CBE-Life Sciences Education.

Stevens, L.M. and Hoskins, S.G., (2014) The CREATE Strategy for Intensive Analysis of Primary Literature Can Be Used Effectively by Newly Trained Faculty to Produce Multiple Gains in Diverse Students CBE Life Sci Educ 13:224-242.

Hoskins, S.G. and Krufka, A. (2015) The CREATE strategy benefits students and is a natural fit for faculty. Microbe 10 (3): 108-112.

Kenyon, K.L., Onorato, M., Gottesman, A., Hoque, J. and Hoskins, S.G. (2016) Testing CREATE at Community Colleges: An Examination of Faculty Perspectives and Diverse Student Gains. CBE Life Sci Educ March 2016; doi:10.1187/cbe.15-07-0146.

Additional Information

Links (coming up summer 2011)

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