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Bio 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
members of the research community and provide a mechanism for faculty to acquire the conceptual and practical skills necessary for quality teaching and learning.
Future biomedical researchers will require not only expertise in a specific biological system, but a conceptual understanding of the science of life and where a specific research topic fits into the overall picture. Connections between biology and the other scientific disciplines need to be developed and reinforced so that interdisciplinary thinking and work become second nature. Teaching and learning must be made more active to engage undergraduates, fully prepare them for graduate study, and give them an enduring sense of the power and beauty of creative inquiry. For these changes to happen colleges and universities must reexamine their current curricula. Administrators, funding agencies, and professional societies should all work to encourage the collaboration of faculty in different departments and the development of teaching materials that incorporate mathematics, physical science, or information science into a biology education. There must be rewards for faculty who create, assess, and sustain new educational programs. Faculty must feel encouraged to spend the time necessary to dedicate themselves to the task of understanding the integrative relationships of biology, mathematics, and the physical sciences, and how they can communicate these relationships to their students.