IBP Summer Conference: Implementing Vision and Change at the Introductory Biology Level
This summer, the NSF-funded RCN, Introductory Biology Project (IBP), will host a meeting of scientists and science educators at the headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, from Thursday, June 28 to Sunday, July 1. This two and one-half day meeting is a major conference on the Introductory Biology Experience at the undergraduate level. In terms of teaching and helping our students learn biology, what works, what doesn’t, and how do we know? The conference begins Thursday afternoon with a reception and poster session, followed by major presentations, informational talks, workshops, poster sessions, and opportunities for exchange of ideas about how to make the Introductory Biology the best possible experience for our undergraduate students. We anticipate that 175 leaders in Introductory Biology reform will attend this important meeting.
About Vision and Change….in 2007, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated a series of conversations with more than 200 faculty members, administrators, and other stakeholders from around the country, seeking input on how to improve undergraduate biology education to better prepare all students for the biology-related challenges of the 21st century. On July 15-17, 2009, more than 500 biology faculty from two- and four-year colleges and universities, researchers, administrators, students and other stakeholders in the future of undergraduate biology education met in Washington, DC for the Vision and Change Conference. Hosted by the AAAS, with support from the NSF and input from representatives of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), the meeting set out to mobilize the nation’s educators to ensure that the undergraduate biology they teach in! their classrooms reflects the biology they practice in their labs and in the field. The conference also developed recommendations to ensure that all students – biology majors and those majoring in other fields – gain a better understanding of the nature of science and the natural world. These recommendations included the use of five key concepts and a set of competencies as the foundation for biology instruction.
The IBP Summer Conference will build on the recommendations emerging from the Vision and Change meetings and documents (http://visionandchange.org/). So, if you teach, conduct science education research, contribute biological research that informs basic biology, or coordinate and implement activities at the introductory level, we would like to find out from you the most useful information and best practices from which others could learn.
The meeting is organized around three themes:
Promoting Vision and Change: what are new, or well-tested and effective, methods, materials, and practices for teaching Introductory Biology and helping students learn biology (identifying best practices, informative resources, useful professional development practices, and relevant research).
Implementing Vision and Change: how do we recognize and overcome the barriers to change and make use of the best practices that have been identified (widely-applicable resources, useful professional development, opportunities for funding, places for networking, relevant research).
Evaluating Vision and Change: what are the methods and results of assessing both old and new materials and practices—how do faculty know for themselves that something is helping their students learn? How does the Biology community know that materials and methods (both old and new) are the best practices for themselves and their students?