This project will bring together faculty who teach and who are interested in improving introductory biology courses.
Using face-to-face meetings and online social networking, we plan to promote beneficial interactions between individuals who need help, those who have some answers, and scientific societies that can implement the changes that will have lasting, significant impact in the way biology is taught.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant through the Undergraduate Biology Education (UBE) track of the Research Coordination Network (RCN) to the University of Oklahoma to help university and college faculty members improve instruction in introductory biology courses. The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) partnered on the proposal and, through a sub-award, will provide programmatic staffing as well as expertise in building an online communication network for the RCN project’s participants over the five-year grant period.
The Principal Investigator on the grant, “Preparing to Prepare the 21st Century Biology Student: Using Scientific Societies as Change Agents for the Introductory Biology Experience,” is Dr. Gordon Uno, chairman of the Department of Botany and Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma and a member of the AIBS Board of Directors.
NSF’s RCN-UBE program supports projects that encourage and foster interactions among scientists and educators who are exploring new approaches to enhance undergraduate biology education. This RCN-UBE grant builds upon previous NSF initiatives, including the recent AIBS Biology Education Summit and the NSF Conversations in Undergraduate Biology.
The Preparing to Prepare project will work with scientific societies and their individual members as the key agents of change to reform undergraduate introductory biology. It will produce a shared vision for the future of undergraduate introductory biology education, develop, promote and share effective teaching and learning practices, and coordinate a sustainable communication network to connect the biology education community. These goals will be achieved by bringing together scientists, science educators, and members of biological professional societies through a series of small face-to-face meetings to stimulate innovative ideas about biology education and to outline ways to engage the entire biology education community in reform efforts. Meeting participants will gather annually with other biology educators, scientists, and science education specialists to share and promote the diverse and valuable education reform activities taking place on university campuses across the nation, thereby increasing the number of individuals involved with these efforts and prepared to implement change at their own institutions.