they better understand why they need to take courses in subject areas that may at first seem indirectly related to their majors (NRC, 1999b).
In the early 1990s, a network of professional societies in biology set out to increase the attention paid to undergraduate education. Efforts by the Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences (CELS) led to the publication of a curricular framework for introductory biology. Issues-Based Framework for Bio 101 (Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences, 1992) called for all students to receive an education in overarching issues in biology in the belief that this education is necessary to prepare them to participate fully in society. The group also published a monograph entitled Professional Societies and the Faculty Scholar: Promoting Scholarship and Learning in the Life Sciences (Coalition for Education in the Life Sciences, 1998). This monograph addresses issues of faculty development, including the way that “faculty find both cooperation and competition from many sources in their commitment to teaching.” The cooperation or competition can come from within the department or professional society, from grant proposals to funding agencies, or from publications on education. The publication advocates that professional societies learn from each other and work together to promote the production and dissemination of educational materials and argues effectively that professional societies must play a leadership role in promoting faculty development. A 1999 report from the NRC, Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (NRC, 1999b), addresses many of the larger institutional issues that must be solved to truly improve undergraduate science education. It calls for “post-secondary institutions to provide the rewards, recognition, resources, tools and infrastructure necessary to promote innovative and effective undergraduate science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET) teaching and learning” and provides strategies for achieving that goal.
This report builds on many aspects of these earlier works to offer an analysis of appropriate topics in each scientific discipline that have relevance to biology students. It proposes a variety of ways to improve interdisciplinary scientific education for future biomedical researchers. It provides guidance for faculty on ways to incorporate chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering into the undergraduate education of future biomedical researchers. Assessment measures must be an integral component of all attempts at curriculum reform, and, importantly, for the educational reforms identified and recommended in this report.
Recent changes in the practice of biological research and knowledge