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National initiative launched to change the way biology departments approach undergraduate education
Date:5/14/2012

WASHINGTON, DC A new national initiative promises to improve college biology education by engaging faculty members in an effort to change how post-secondary life sciences departments approach education. PULSE, which stands for Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education, is a collaborative effort funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Program organizers also announced today that they are accepting applications from faculty members interested in becoming Vision and Change Fellows individuals who will lead a national effort to stimulate systemic change in how post-secondary educational institutions approach biology education. The intent of the program is to develop a strategy to implement the findings from a 2011 report.

College students and faculty members have long argued that the approach to undergraduate education in the life sciences should be modernized to reflect what we now understand about how students learn. Twenty-first century science demands that students develop scientific and technical skills, and also the capacity to work beyond traditional academic boundaries. Undergraduate students, regardless of their major, deserve and need a life sciences education that helps then understand biology and how scientific research is conducted. Informed decision-making, whether managing one's health, deciding what food to eat, or understanding how individual actions influence the environment, requires an appreciation of the nature of science.

In 2006, the NSF initiated a multi-year conversation with the scientific community, with support from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That dialogue, which was co-funded with the National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, generated the 2011 report, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action.

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Contact: Dr. Robert Gropp
rgropp@aibs.org
202-628-1500 x250
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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