About V&C: Chronicling Change, Inspiring the Future (2015)

AAAS Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: Chronicling Change, Inspiring the Future

Original description of meeting
Reports, such as Vision and Change and the many that preceded and followed it [Biology 2010, the 2012 report of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, 2012), the 2012 NRC report on discipline based education research (NRC, 2012)] have emerged over the years and generated needed momentum for Transforming Undergraduate Education in Biology.  The subsequent ripples of concern about the state of undergraduate biology education have resulted in some good ideas and exciting projects that could serve as examples of what works and why; but, there is a pressing need for a coordinated follow-up effort to:

  • Chronicle outcomes of the report and the initiative;
  • Document the trajectory of change following the report; and
  • Identify a set of exemplars of how the community accomplished the changes needed in a variety of institutions.

Towards this end AAAS and its partners and advisors are conducting a series of on-line activities that will culminate in the second conference on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology: Chronicling the Changes. The series of on-line activities is open to the entire biology community and includes (a) submission of abstracts describing your efforts and outcomes to promote change in undergraduate biology education and (b) an on-line survey to be conducted later this coming spring.  The invitation only conference will be held in Washington, DC on August 28-30, 2013. Partners Include the National Science Foundation (NSF), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) Division of Training, Workforce Development and Diversity (TWD); and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

NIH, HHMI, and NSF have also partnered to launch the PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education) program to stimulate systemic change at the department level based on the recommendations from Vision & Change.  The PULSE Steering Committee, working with the American Institute of Biological Sciences and Knowinnovation Inc., have selected 40 Vision & Change Leadership Fellows who represent research universities, regional or comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges.  The Fellows are engaged in a yearlong set of activities that are designed to implement strategies for change at the department level.  Information about these activities, including opportunities for input from the broader community, is available at http://www.pulsecommunity.org.

The objectives of both the conference and survey will include:

  • Sharing and learning about innovative strategies that biological sciences departments, faculty, and societies have implemented, as a result of the V&C initiative.
  • Refining tested ideas and strategies and identifying lessons learned for dissemination of innovative ideas in biology undergraduate education throughout the biology community.
  • Identifying challenges to implementing the V&C recommendations for change, including how those challenges were overcome and challenges that still remain.
  • Understanding how faculty and administrators became agents of change at an institutional level.

For more information, please email Yolanda S. George, (ygeorge@aaas.org), AAAS, Deputy Director for Education and Human Resources Programs.

Final Report

In 2013, educational leaders with a commitment to improving undergraduate biology education reconvened in Washington to assess the advances made up to that time in achieving the goals of Vision and Change, as well as to inspire new leadership for the years ahead. This follow-up conference, which focused on “Chronicling Change, Inspiring the Future,” included plenary sessions, panel discussions, and poster sessions highlighting successful projects and programs from around the country. Conference participants, including some of the nation’s leading biologists, educators, researchers, and administrators, discussed how the original Vision and Change initiative had helped advance undergraduate biology education nationwide. In addition to emphasizing the importance of chronicling institutional change and documenting outcomes by using objective methods, the participants discussed progress made in realizing the vision set forth at the first national meeting, the challenges remaining in leading change, helping faculty act as agents of change, changing the student experience, building networks for change, and amassing evidence of change and its effects. Working in small- and large-group settings, conference participants identified significant advances that had taken place in undergraduate biology education since the original 2009 Vision and Change call to action, highlighted strategies known to work, and identified what would still be needed to move forward in each topic area. Conference attendees also completed surveys designed to determine how successful Vision and Change efforts on their campuses had been to date, as well as the types of challenges they continued to face in improving undergraduate biology education. The material that follows highlights the 2013 Vision and Change conference discussions and recommendations, and chronicles many of the accomplishments and challenges biologists and educators nationwide have faced in improving undergraduate biology education. It also synthesizes the road maps participants suggested for accelerating change and moving forward. Examples of programs inspired by the original Vision and Change initiative are highlighted throughout, with additional projects and programs listed in the appendix.

Download Chronicling Change, Inspiring the Future (PDF – Web Version)