. "5. Enabling Undergraduates to Experience the Excitement of Biology." BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.
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Bio 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
Other groups are also active in promoting research experiences. The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) is a network of faculty members devoted to providing experiences for undergraduates. CUR has 3,000 members representing over 850 institutions in eight academic divisions. Most members are from primarily undergraduate institutions. CUR encourages faculty-student collaborative research and investigative teaching strategies, as well as supports faculty development and attempts to attract attention to the benefits of undergraduate research. Additional information is available at http://www.cur.org. Professional societies, such as the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), also play an active role in stimulating undergraduate education and research. ASM often holds sessions on education at its annual meetings and provides independent conferences on education such as the Ninth ASM Undergraduate Microbiology Education Conference entitled “Emerging Issues in Microbiology: Expanding Education Horizons.” Additional information is available at http://www.asmusa.org/. An extensive annotated list of professional societies active in undergraduate science education, as well as links to other resources for science education, can be found at the Sigma Xi Web site: http://www.sigmaxi.org/resources/overview/index.shtml.
Opportunities for learning also exist beyond the classroom and the faculty laboratory. The range of research opportunities available to undergraduates can be further broadened by drawing on the strengths of a wide range of public and private institutions. Independent work in faculty laboratories, biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural chemistry companies, engineering firms, national labs, and independent research centers should be encouraged. Real-world research is generally more interdisciplinary than traditional lab courses. Biotechnology companies, as well as established pharmaceutical and agricultural chemistry companies, have a major stake in the vitality and quality of undergraduate education for future research biologists. Industry will employ many life sciences majors in the years ahead. To abet the academic advising process, they and their teachers need to acquire an understanding of the spectrum of industry activities from basic research through product development. The formation of partnerships between life science corporations and academic institutions can enhance student learning in the undergraduate years so that scientists of the future prepare to play leadership roles in the private sector. Such partnerships could consist of summer or academic year research internships for students.
Another possible collaboration would be corporate sponsorship of un-