number of courses than can be accommodated in a biology major. Hence, the committee recommends the creation of new courses (or revamping of old courses) to cover the most pertinent part of this material in less time and with examples geared toward biology. Furthermore, as with key concepts in the physical sciences that are relevant for the study of biological systems, biology faculty can further enhance students’ understanding of the connections between mathematics, computer science, and biology by introducing these concepts into courses in the biology curriculum. Relevant courses might be taught by faculty from mathematics, computer science, or biology, or by a collaborating team of faculty from multiple departments. Outside input should be sought if the course is to be taught by a biologist who does not have extensive interdisciplinary experience. A mathematician or computer scientist might also be invited to give a guest lecture or two. Similarly, biologists should provide assistance to the mathematics and computer science faculty in designing biological examples for use in their courses.
One aspect of reform is the reevaluation of the topics covered in introductory courses. Is some material covered just because it is in the textbook or has “traditionally” been taught in this course? Are there other topics that would be more useful or more relevant or interesting to the students currently enrolled in the course? By adding modules and redesigning courses, a department can make its curriculum more interdisciplinary without any increase in the number of courses required.
The order in which the material is taught should be carefully considered in relation to the rest of the curriculum. For example, the early introduction of statistics and discrete mathematics could be beneficial for biology courses. This is the type of change that should be assessed after implementation to see if it is beneficial to student learning. While a substantial part of the material in the concept lists can be taught as mathematics, chemistry, or physics (with biological examples), some of the more advanced and more specifically biological material might instead be covered in a biology course or an interdepartmental course, depending on the teaching resources and interests of the particular departments. For example, a course on modeling could be taught in many different departments, or modules on modeling could be added to preexisting courses. Those biology students who wish to eventually work at the interface of biology and physical, mathematical or information sciences will need to become more expert in those fields, and may want to take some of the standard courses offered in those disciplines that provide a more rigorous foundation. The integra-