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Director of Discovery-Based Learning


Quick Facts:

  • Founding Director of FIRE

  • Director of Discovery-Based Learning

  • PhD - Cell & Molecular Biology (2007)

  • BS - Computer Science (1997)


Dr. Patrick Killion is the Director of Discovery-Based Learning in the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and Assistant Clinical Professor of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD). 


He continues to serve as the founding director of FIRE (The First-Year Innovation & Research Experience), initiated in 2014.  FIRE is a university-wide program that annually provides first-year UMD students an inclusive faculty-mentored research experience that drives accelerated professional development supporting young professionals ready to embrace uncertainty and affect equality of opportunity for all.

Dr. Killion joined the University of Maryland in 2013 after serving as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania where he drove discovery and inquiry-based reform efforts in the first-year Biology curriculum.  Prior to this role he helped grow the University of Texas Freshman Research Initiative, a model that informed and inspired the UMD FIRE program.  His research interests and capacities include learning analytics and data science focused on higher education administration, decision-making, and reform. 


He is a former Councilor in The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and serves as a consultant to both Rice University and The University of California, Riverside as a part of an NSF-funded four-year effort to rethink and transform the experience of students at these institutions.  Prior to beginning his career in higher education, Dr. Killion was a software engineer with IBM and several technology startups in Austin, Texas.  Dr. Killion has a Ph.D. in Cell & Molecular Biology from the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.

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