• How will biology research be conducted in the future, and how should future approaches to research inform education in the life sciences?

  • What fundamental skills and knowledge do undergraduates in the life sciences need to prepare them to become research scientists? How are those skills and knowledge best conveyed?

  • What are the fundamental concepts of mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science, and engineering that will assist students in making interdisciplinary connections?

  • To what extent can these interdisciplinary skills and knowledge be taught in the context of central issues in biology? Should these skills and concepts be acquired through a restructuring of biology courses or through a broadening of the content and structure of courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics?

  • To the extent that portions of the desired curriculum are better treated in academic departments outside the life sciences, what are the best practices for collaborating with faculty in those departments to achieve mutually agreeable goals? What institutional barriers to collaboration exist and how have they been addressed in successful cases of curricular change? What incentives exist or might be created to overcome barriers to change?

  • What innovative programs for teaching life science majors have been developed, and what can be learned from those programs?

Expertise of the Committee and Content Panels

An 11-member committee composed of leading scientists and educators in biology, the physical sciences, and mathematics undertook the study. All are practicing scientists with a strong interest and dedication to education. The committee did not include experts in learning theory and pedagogy as the charge stated that the study would focus on examples of concepts and courses that would promote interdisciplinary learning. This report is the result of a two-year process that they directed. Many of the ideas and recommendations presented here reinforce and build upon material from earlier reports by the NRC and others, particularly the ideas of mechanisms for improving undergraduate science education. In coming to the conclusions presented here, the committee began by discussing the overall state of biomedical research and undergraduate biology education. They canvassed their colleagues, educational experts, journal articles, and the Internet, gathering information on both traditional and innovative courses and curricula in undergraduate science. The committee used this informa-



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