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Member Spotlight: Marielle Hoefnagels

Biology: Concepts and InvestigationsMarielle HoefnagelsTAA member Marielle Hoefnagels is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Biology and Microbiology/Plant Biology at The University of Oklahoma, and a textbook author in the biology discipline.

She is the author of two titles, both published by McGraw-Hill. The 4th edition of Biology: Concepts and Investigations was published in January 2017, and the 3rd edition of Biology: The Essentials will come out in January 2018.

What are you currently working on?
I just finished production of the print version of Biology: The Essentials; work on the ebook will occupy my attention soon. In addition, I will teach a scientific writing class in the spring, so I am starting to prepare for that. I also have a blog ( in which I periodically publish ideas that might interest instructors who teach nonmajors biology. Later this spring, we will start putting together the 5th edition of Biology: Concepts and Investigations.

Share a recent accomplishment.
The final paperwork hasn’t been completed yet, but I anticipate a promotion to full professor this spring. Even though my career has not followed a traditional path, outside reviewers and my colleagues at the University of Oklahoma were positive about my promotion dossier. That means a lot to me.

What is your favorite textbook writing tip or strategy?
Can I share two? The first is to be organized so you don’t forget to do any of your many authoring tasks. I keep extremely detailed checklists for each round of work (first draft, copyedit, first pages, etc.). Some tasks take a few minutes; others take hours. Depending on the amount of time available, I can almost always check something off and feel like I’m making progress. The second tip is to keep meticulous records of where your authoring time goes. For your previous edition, how many hours did you spend on each chapter of the first draft? On copyedited manuscript? On first pages? If you know the answers, you can do a much better job of setting aside sufficient time for those same tasks when it’s time to do a revision.

What is your best TAA experience so far?
I have attended dozens of webinars and teleconferences sponsored by TAA. Some of them have changed my perspective in a significant way. For example, I learned some useful strategies for finding time to write, for being interviewed on video (a terrifying experience for many people), and for teaching scientific writing. By the way, for those of you who haven’t seen it, Patricia Goodson’s book (Becoming an Academic Writer) absolutely ROCKS.