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Bio 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
for faculty who do not consider themselves well versed in those topics. One way to start is to add modules into existing biology courses. Throughout this report, modules are mentioned as a way to modify courses without completely revamping the syllabus. The committee uses the word “module” to mean a self-contained set of material on a specific topic that could be inserted into various different types of preexisting courses. For example, modules can provide opportunities to add quantitative examples or experimental data to a course. The modules would demonstrate the necessity of using mathematics and physical and information sciences to solve biological problems. Administrators, funding agencies, and professional societies should all work to encourage the collaboration of faculty in different departments and the development of teaching materials, including modules of the type mentioned above, that incorporate mathematics, physical science, or information science into the teaching of biology. The creation of new teaching materials is a significant undertaking. It will require a major commitment from college and university administrators and funders to be successful. 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 be combined into either existing courses or new courses. In addition, faculty development opportunities must be provided so that faculty can learn from each other and from experts in education about the best approaches for facilitating student learning.
The following box presents a summary of the most important recommendations in this report. Throughout the text of the report, other recommendations are made and other ideas are presented. Not all of the ideas presented here are proven approaches. In any new educational effort it is important to define goals and create an assessment plan to determine if the student learning goals are being met. The committee believes that the general recommendations presented here are appropriate for all institutions, while recognizing that not all institutions will use the same mechanisms to achieve these goals. The specific mechanisms appropriate for each individual institution of higher education will depend on the skills and interests of both their students and their faculty. This report presents numerous ideas in the belief that each institution will identify for itself the most relevant options. The recommendations that follow are directed at the next generation of life science majors, particularly those preparing for careers in biomedical research.
The ideas presented here for transforming the undergraduate educa-