Navigation Links
HHMI helps summer institute expand to regional sites
Date:5/4/2011

New funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)will be used to scale up a successful summer program that aims to enable thousands of college and university science faculty to receive intensive professional development designed to improve undergraduate biology education.

The $3 million grant will expand the National Academies Summer Institute for Undergraduate Education in Biology from a single location at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to a total of nine regional centers over the next five years. Several of the new Summer Institute sites will debut this summer in New Haven, Boulder, Minneapolis, and Olympia, Washington.

"The Summer Institute is very successful, but at its previous scale, it could not reach enough faculty," says Sean B. Carroll, HHMI's vice president for science education. "With this grant, we hope to greatly expand the number of faculty members who participate and bring what they learn back to their campuses. The scale of this effort is aimed at changing biology teaching across the country."

Since 2004, 303 faculty and instructional staff members from 94 research universities have been active participants in the Summer Institute, which aims to improve biology teaching by encouraging faculty to approach teaching with the same analytical skills they use in the lab. Participating faculty use "scientific teaching" for approximately 100,000 undergraduates each year, but Carroll said the program needed to be scaled up in order to have a major impact on the teaching and learning of modern biology in the United States.

The expanded program will eventually be open to faculty at a wider range of institutions; only faculty and staff at major research universities have been able to participate in the past. In 2011, the institutes are welcoming faculty from all doctoral-degree granting institutions, not just the research-intensive universities. In future years, faculty from undergraduate-focused state schools, liberal arts institutions, and community colleges also will be invited to participate.

Revamping Biology Education

The Summer Institute was created in response to the National Academy of Sciences' Bio2010 report, which concluded that biology faculty needed to become more familiar with the science behind successful teaching and student learning. "We thought there ought to be something similar to Cold Spring Harbor courses for people who are interested in teaching, that deep immersion experience," says Jay Labov, the National Academies' senior advisor for education and communication.

At the same time, Jo Handelsman, who was at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, had proposed a similar training program in her application for the HHMI Professor. "People have a strong tendency to teach the way they were taught," says Handelsman, who moved to Yale University in 2010. "But we know that lectures are the worst way to teach if you care about student learning."

In 2003, Handelsman and Bill Wood at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who co-lead the Summer Institute, brought together top undergraduate science educators and developed the curriculum for a week-long training course. That course was designed to engage participants in methods that show them how to incorporate active-learning techniques into their classes, including interactive projects and discussion groups. They could also see how to continually assess whether students are really learning. The instructors at the Summer Institute use the recommended methods with the participants, which allows them to see how classes should be taught and then spend time developing their own curriculum using those methods.

"It is a way of not just preaching to people," says David J. Asai, director of precollege and undergraduate programs at HHMI, which has spent over $1 million to support the Summer Institute since 2004. "It is saying, 'We are going to teach you some ways of thinking about your classroom that you haven't had time to consider before, and we are going to approach it in a scientific way.'"

Michelle Withers knows that can be a difficult task without training. "I had been trying to improve my teaching, but I didn't know what to do," says Withers, now a biology professor at West Virginia University. "I was still rewriting the book on PowerPoint slides. I was still the talking head."

Withers attended the Summer Institute in 2004 and was so excited by what she learned that she started telling everyone about it. First, she told her colleagues. Then she set up workshops for faculty and teaching assistants. Eventually, Withers acquired NSF funding to run her own regional Summer Institute. "I really drank the Kool-Aid," Withers says.

Now, because of the Summer Institute and other education initiatives, Withers thinks it is easier to find out about good teaching. "I think the conversation has really changed," she says. "People are still lecturing, mostly, but they are aware of the movement toward active learning and are talking about it."

Expansion Extends Eligible Faculty

After running the Summer Institute in Wisconsin for seven years, it seemed clear that they were ready to take the next step, Wood says. "It seemed like the natural next step to set up regional institutes," he explains. "Hopefully it will help build a larger community of people who believe in what we are doing."

Just like the Madison Summer Institute, the regional Summer Institutes will be organized by long-time attendees and taught by many of the same instructors to keep the experience as consistent as possible.

In addition to the expansion itself, HHMI's funding will pay for an intensive assessment of the program, including hiring two professional evaluators. Previous studies have shown that the Summer Institute's training has an impact on the faculty who attend, but Handelsman and Wood want to find out whether it is extending to the larger science teaching community at participants' schools. "We have some evidence that things are happening, but we'd like to get more and better evidence," Wood says.

Asai is particularly interested in learning the best way to make sure that the lessons learned by Summer Institute participants reach other faculty at their institutions. "What are the elements that work best to make this really transformative and sustainable?"

The 2011 regional Summer Institutes are:

Midwest Institute
July 10-15, 2011
University of Minnesota
Contact: Robin Wright, wrightr@umn.edu
Target states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin.

Mountain West Institute
Aug. 1-5, 2011
University of Colorado, Boulder
Contact: Jenny Knight, jennifer.knight@colorado.edu
Target states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming.

Northeast Institute
Aug. 8-13, 2011
Yale University
Contact: James Young, james.young@yale.edu
Target states: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont.

Pacific Northwest Institute
Sept. 7-11, 2011
Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA)
Contact: Clarissa Dirks, dirksc@evergreen.edu
Target states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrea Widener
widenera@hhmi.org
301-215-8807
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. MIT: Removable cloak for nanoparticles helps them target tumors
2. Going off the grid helps some bacteria hide from antibiotics
3. Alcohol helps the brain remember, says new study
4. New genetic tool helps researchers to analyze cells most important functions
5. UNC study helps clarify link between high-fat diet and type 2 diabetes
6. New genetic study helps to solve Darwins mystery about the ancient evolution of flowering plants
7. Nature helps to solve a sticky problem
8. West Runton Elephant helps unlock the past
9. Fibroids cause womens lower urinary tract problems: uterine fibroid embolization helps
10. Cutting carbon dioxide helps prevent drying
11. Whitehead scientist helps revisit Hallmarks of Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2017)... 2017 Report Highlights ... The global synthetic-biology market reached nearly ... 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ... the global markets for synthetic biology. - Analyses of global ... projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2021. - ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... 2017   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that the latest ... highly flexible and award winning eClinical solution, is now ... is a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) clinical research technology ... but also delivers an entire suite of eClinical tools ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... 6, 2017 According to Acuity Market ... border authorities to continue to embrace biometric and ... 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 ... more than 163 ports of entry across the ... achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... HACKENSACK, N.J. , Feb. 16, 2017  Champions ... engaged in the development and sale of advanced technology ... of oncology drugs, today announced the addition of new ... These new models will expand Champions, product ... cancer, head and neck cancer, AML, and non-small cell ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... BOSTON , Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... for rare genetic deficiencies that result in ... of a $41 million mezzanine round of ... Ipsen, OrbiMed, MPM Capital, New Enterprise Associates, ... an undisclosed public healthcare investment fund. Rhythm ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... ... February 15, 2017 , ... ... and Chief Commercial Officer with GenePeeks. Matt is a veteran life sciences ... a computational genomics company focused on identifying inherited disease risk in future generations. ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... , Feb. 15, 2017  NASA provider SpaceX ... mission to the  International Space Station  no earlier than ... the launch will begin at 8:30 a.m. on NASA ... SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will lift off on the ... NASA,s Kennedy Space Center in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: