Internships for Undergraduate Students with Disabilities

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Title of Abstract: Internships for Undergraduate Students with Disabilities

Name of Author: Richard Mankin
Author Company or Institution: USDA-ARS-Center for Med., Agric., Vet. Entomology
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Biophysics, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Organismal Biology
Course Levels: Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Research
Keywords: interdisciplinarity assessment research agriculture mentorship

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Enhance research experiences of undergraduate biology students with disabilities by providing internships at an agricultural research laboratory. In the last three years, we have focused more on internships in the broader context of the students' educational institutions and our local resources. In interactions with the interns’ educational institutions, we have coordinated research projects of interns with their instructors and facilitated incorporation of the research into their coursework. Subsequent presentations by the interns to classmates were expected to be of benefit to the class and to the instructors. Also, we have encouraged interns to interact with other researchers and technical staff at the Center and nearby institutions, including the University of Florida and the Florida Division of Plant Industry.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Design multidisciplinary research projects that can be completed during a summer. The projects include components of pest management, biology, electronic and acoustic technology, and computer programming. Coordinate efforts with instructors and advisors at the students' educational institutions. Provide opportunities for additional interaction of students with other researchers in multiple institutions in the local area (University of Florida, Florida Division of Plant Industry). Wherever possible, make opportunities for the students to explore areas of interest where they have particular skills or strengths. Include field trips to nearby farms and agribusinesses. Assess results.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Discussions with interns, staff, and researchers. Adaptations of survey tools discussed in Vision and Change Final Report

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Students were enthusiastic at the enhanced opportunities to interact with peers and other researchers in carrying out their projects, as well as to obtain feedback from farmers. Many of the technical and scientific staff responded with helpful suggestions and opened their labs to further interactions and learning experiences for the interns. Feedback was provided in seminars where the interns presented their work. Assessments enabled identification of problem areas.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The intense level of activity caused additional stress for some of the staff not used to working with young persons. Contact with these staff was reduced whenever possible, and the impact was lessened by the short, 8-week duration of the internships. In addition, each student has different interests and needs, and each research project has different dead-ends and barriers to overcome. Aspects of several projects failed. Fear, caution, or unfamiliarity often presents high barriers to interactions with persons who have apparent disabilities. Seminars where students presented information and brainstorming sessions helped overcome some of these challenges.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Journal articles by the interns have been published, seminars have been presented, and researchers have been recruited as mentors for next year.

Acknowledgements: Funding from the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, and support and helpful comments from many local staff and researchers.

Molecular Biology Simulations for Case Based Learning

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Title of Abstract: Molecular Biology Simulations for Case Based Learning

Name of Author: Karen Klyczek
Author Company or Institution: University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: computer simulations case studies bioinformatics molecular biology

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Mark Bergland, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goal is to facilitate case studies and other active learning strategies via development of computer simulations of molecular biology lab techniques. This project addresses Vision and Change recommendation to relate biology concepts to real-world examples and make biology content relevant for students. The NSF-funded Case It project has produced case studies mainly in genetic and infectious diseases, in which students use simulation software to analyze authentic DNA and proteins sequences associated with the cases. By analyzing these cases, students address several core competencies, including applying the process of science, using quantitative reasoning, using modeling and simulation, and understanding the relationship between science and society. Based in part on the recommendations in the Vision and Change report, we have developed materials designed to prepare students for research projects involving bioinformatics analysis, to extend the existing case studies and for use with student-generated experiments. The software and materials are made available free of charge on the Case It web site (www.caseitproject.org) and have been used by secondary and undergraduate schools worldwide. Case It was awarded a 2011 Science Prize for Inquiry-based Instruction (Bergland et al. 2012, Science 337, 426 (2012).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Case It is an open-ended simulation that reads any nucleotide or amino acid sequence file, and includes methods for analyzing DNA and proteins. These methods include restriction digestion and mapping, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA electrophoresis, Southern blotting and dot blotting, microarray analysis, protein electrophoresis, Western blotting, and ELISA. Bioinformatics capabilities (sequence alignment, tree building) have been added via integration with MEGA software. The download includes the simulation as well as all of the sequences necessary to run the cases described on the web site. The case descriptions can be viewed from the Case It home page or downloaded as a pdf file. Students read case scenarios and explore background information for the case. They then use the simulation to open sequence files associated with the case and run the appropriate procedure to analyze the sequences, generating results in the form of images that can then be incorporated into presentations or reports. At the introductory-biology level, students can assume roles of persons in the cases, such as health-care professionals, lab technicians, researchers, or hypothetical family members. They then discuss results either in person or online. The open-ended nature of the simulation encourages inquiry by enabling users to analyze any DNA sequence, including entire viral or bacterial genomes, with any probe, primer, or restriction enzyme. For example, freshmen at UWRF participating in the HHMI Science Education Alliance PHAGES project use the Case It simulation to generate virtual digests of known phage genomes for comparison with actual gels of their newly discovered phages.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Assessment of the use of the Case It materials has demonstrated that it provides an active and collaborative learning environment that engages and motivates students. Pre- and post testing as well as individual and focus group interviews were used to assess its impact on student learning and perceptions in courses at several institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico. In all courses, students demonstrated significant learning gains as a result of using the simulation to analyze case studies involving bioinformatics analysis. In addition, students reported that the activities allowed them to explore science concepts from multiple perspectives in a real world context. The instructor-independent efficacy demonstrated in these studies indicates that the use of Case It materials has the potential to be scalable in a variety of institution types.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Since 2012, the Case It software has been used by more than 10,000 students at 60 schools around the world. It was downloaded by many more faculty, from 105 different countries, so there is likely to be additional use that we have not been able to document. When we have assessed the impact on students in classes as described above, students using Case It showed improved post-test scores, and students' confidence in their knowledge also increased (Wolter et al., 2012, J Sci Educ Technol DOI 10.1007/s10956-012-9387-7). Faculty involved in software development, case writing, and assessment have been able to cite this work as scholarly activity for retention, promotion and tenure purposes.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Barriers to implementation of the Case It software include the need for faculty training in the use of the simulation. To address this issue, we have given many workshops at professional meetings and at the invitation of biology departments. We also have developed screencast tutorials that are posted on the web site. The web site also includes discussion forums where questions about the use of the simulation can be addressed. Finally, we are exploring the development of mobile applications of the software for use on tablets and other devices.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have given over 50 presentations, including workshops, oral presentations, and posters, at science education meetings in a variety of venues. In 2013 so far, we have presented at the NSF/AAAS TUES conference, American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators, Science Case Network conference, and HHMI Quantitative Biology/BioQUEST workshop. We no longer have grant funding, but still plan to present at conferences as funding allows. Limited travel funds are available through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and from conference organizers when we are invited to present. We have published several papers describing strategies for implementing Case It and assessing its effectiveness, in Science, the Journal of Science Education Technology, American Biology Teacher, and others. In 2011 we joined the Science Case Network RCN-UBE project, and are collaborating with other case study and problem based learning projects to dissemination information and resources for faculty interesting in incorporating these active learning strategies (www.sciencecasenet.org). In 2012, the Case It web site, www.caseitproject.org, has been updated to include more interactive features and facilitate more effective dissemination of materials, and will continue to be updated.

Acknowledgements: The National Science Foundation has provided funding to support development, dissemination, and assessment of Case It materials (DUE grants 9455425, 9752268, 0229156, 0717577). Mary Lundeberg, formerly at Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, has coordinated assessment of the project, with assistance from undergraduate and graduate students; in particular, Bjorn Wolter, former MSU graduate student. Chi-Cheng Lin assisted with critical aspects of the software that allowed incorporation of bioinformatics features. Rafael Tosado, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico-Metro Campus, Arlin Toro, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico-San German, and C. Dinitra White, North Carolina A & T State Unviversity, assisted in case development and assessment in their courses. Kim Mogen, Brad Mogen, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Eric Ribbens, Western Illinois University, have written case scenarios. Numerous faculty and student users have provided feedback on software features and ideas for new cases. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Arts & Sciences and Provost’s office have provided support for faculty time and travel to conferences.

Expanding a Research-Infused Botanical Curriculum

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Title of Abstract: Expanding a Research-Infused Botanical Curriculum

Name of Author: Jennifer Ward
Author Company or Institution: University of North Carolina at Asheville
Author Title: Assistant Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: assessment, consortium, inquiry, plant biology, undergraduate research,

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): H. David Clarke, University of North Carolina at Asheville Jonathan L. Horton, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Our goals were to incorporate inquiry-based research experiences into undergraduate plant biology courses , including lower-division botany (required of all majors), so that all students had an authentic undergraduate research experience. We hoped to improve student learning of course content and familiarize them with the scientific process. Finally, we worked to overcome barriers of faculty time, student time/preparation, and funding.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Undergraduate students developed and tested curricular modules based on their own independent research projects. These modules were tested by other research students before being used in a classroom setting. Then, undergraduate classroom students used modules in their plant biology lab courses, generating hypotheses and data related to the larger research project. In the past three years, we have involved over 300 classroom students and 12 undergraduate research mentors in this project.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: To determine if exposure to the research-infused botanical curriculum increased students' content knowledge, we administered a quiz in Moodle courseware. To assess the effects of our new curriculum on students' scientific process, we used rubric scores on two journal-style papers; the rubric was tested for intergrader reliability. All data were analyzed with SAS 9.2 with PROC GLM and PROC PAIREDT.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Student scores on journal-style papers rose after use of our curricular modules (P = 0.001), and sophomores improved their abilities to state hypotheses (P = 0.001), identify types of variables (P = 0.001), and choose appropriate statistical analyses (P = 0.017). Comparing pre- and post-test results demonstrated that students perceived significant gains in field experience, experimental design and analysis ability, writing experience, comfort with citing primary scientific literature, and recognizing the importance of plant science (P < 0.05 for all). In addition, they gained content knowledge in some botanical subdisciplines (P < 0.05). Research students also showed positive shifts in attitudes towards teaching and their own research. Our approach has now been adopted by other courses, departments, and regional universities.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: In response to students' ongoing challenges in data interpretation, we have changed the way in which we teach these subjects.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Results have been presented at 4 disciplinary conferences and 2 education conferences, and we are preparing them for publication. In late 2012, we created a coordinated undergraduate research network to investigate Southern Appalachian ecosystems’ resilience to environmental change. This research focus will serve as a platform for imparting botanical knowledge while advancing quantitative literacy, improving student attitudes towards STEM and NOS (Nature of Science), teaching creative STEM thinking, and encouraging higher-order cognitive processes. The place-based curricular modules that we are creating will be partially developed and administered by undergraduate and graduate research students (3 graduate T.A.s per year) and will have a direct impact on the learning of over 1000 undergraduates per year, including B.S.Ed. students.

Acknowledgements: Undergraduate research students included Scott Arico, Katherine Culatta, Jacob Francis, David Greene, Jennafer Hamlin, Ashley Hanes, Karissa Keen, Aaron Maser, Joseph McKenna, Megan Rayfield, Matt Searels, Katherine Selm, and Emmalie von Kuilenberg. This work was funded by the National Science Foundation (DUE 0942776) and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

PRIMER: Authentic Research on Environmental Microbiology

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Title of Abstract: PRIMER: Authentic Research on Environmental Microbiology

Name of Author: Jose Perez-Jimenez
Author Company or Institution: Universidad del Turabo
Author Title: Associate Professor/Director
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Microbiology, Research courses, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum
Approaches: Authentic Research Experience
Keywords: authentic research, microbiology, bioprospecting, biotechnology, mycology

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Yomarie Bernier, Universidad del Turabo

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The overall goal has been to develop research skills and attitude among undergraduate students that energize them towards academic progress (retention) and success (graduation).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Puerto Rico Institute for Microbial Ecology Research (PRIMER), as an authentic research experience model, has provide diverse levels for engagement for students. The skills development has three stages: apprentice (help others to conduct protocols and initial understanding), novice (perform protocols with minimal supervision and are capable of explaining the applied scientific method), and fellow (address new questions with the mentor and are capable of scientific writing with supporting literature). Students develop initial expertise in particular protocols that later teach to peers: a community of learning has evolved. Intellectual development is fostered throughout discussion sessions: regular laboratory meetings, oral presentations at local student forum, and poster presentation at scientific meetings (local and national). Participation at SACNAS National Conference is aimed every year.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We have noticed increase level of personal and academic confidence along the PRIMER process of research, collaboration, and dissemination. We lack a formal evaluation methodology.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Students that took the opportunity with responsibility and dedication (~90%) has experienced academic success: retention, graduation, formal jobs, and pursue of graduate/professional education. In 1998, the undergraduate research experience motivated an interdisciplinary faculty team in biological sciences to strengthen institutional effort with formal dissemination forums and opportunities. Recently, students presentations have become part of the Researchers Forum (originally established for faculty).

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: PRIMER has operated as an extracurricular program that demands a lot of time on mentoring/training by the faculty and research/dissemination by the students. A learning community has evolved from learning protocols among more expert students, recruiting assistant mentors, and regular meeting aligned with dissemination commitments. We have formally proposed to organize research course in fixed schedule for more efficient time management and rigorous evaluations.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Dissemination activities have been based on active participation with presentations at scientific forums (university, state, and nation). Recently, PRIMER was portrayed in the new magazine for the Chancellors office. Additionally, newsletter has been prepared and distributed on campus and NSF ATE-related events.

Acknowledgements: Research was supported in part by 'Richness and endemicity of sulfate-reducing bacteria in Neotropical environments' (NSF-RIG MCB-0615671), 'PRIMER Tropical Bioprospecting Venture at CETA' (NSF-ATE DUE-0903274), and 'PRIMER Bioprospecting for Bioenergy' (US Forest Service 11-DG-11330101-111) to Dr. Perez-Jiminez. We are thankful to Diana L. Laureano, Aracelis Molina, and Darlene Muñoz for administrative assistance. We are especially proud of the students than embraced the opportunity with responsibility and dedication to transform their lives.

Smithsonian-Mason Semester teaches conservation in practice

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Title of Abstract: Smithsonian-Mason Semester teaches conservation in practice

Name of Author: James McNeil
Author Company or Institution: George Mason University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Conservation Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Environmental Management, Environmental Studies, General Biology, Integrative Biology, Organismal Biology
Course Levels: Faculty Development, Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: A mixture of the above, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Conservation Biology, Conservation Studies, Collaborative, Integrated, Transdisciplinary

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jennifer Buff, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation Anneke DeLuycker, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation Stephanie Lessard-Pilon, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation A. Alonso Aguirre, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Smithsonian-Mason Semester for Conservation Studies (SMS) grew out of a meeting in 2001 funded by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). Forty representatives from 21 academic, government and professional organizations met to discuss strategies for reforming undergraduate education in conservation studies. Similar to the Vision and Change report, which advocates for more student-centered education and a shift towards class formats that foster critical thinking skills, recommendations from these meetings focused on ways of teaching conservation studies that mirror the way that it is practiced by professionals. One of the goals for the program included involving conservation practitioners and non-traditional partners representing disciplines related to conservation but not often included in undergraduate courses on the subject (i.e. economics, conflict resolution, communication, policy, management, public education, ethics). Another goal was to engage students in real-world case studies and projects that illustrate the multi-faceted and transdisciplinary nature of conservation studies and provide them opportunities to practice skills in a meaningful way. Finally, the program intended to establish guidelines for what information and skills graduates in the conservation field should possess and act as a model for that high level of training. The result of these discussions was the formation of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation in 2008. Housed at the 3,200 acre Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, the School is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and George Mason University (Mason) to provide the type of instruction that would meet the goals outlined by the FIPSE meeting.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Undergraduates in the SMS participate in an immersive, integrated 16-credit semester where they live on-site at the SCBI for the entire semester. The program is open to students from any major with a demonstrated commitment to conservation careers. In the program students are introduced to theoretical frameworks, explore them with hands-on experiences, and apply the knowledge to novel scenarios. Faculty explicitly discuss how connections between different fields are essential to creating solutions to difficult conservation issues. For example, one activity allows students to visit with Smithsonian scientists working on coastal climate change research, help collect data related to that research, discuss ways the effects of climate change can be mediated, collect data about public perceptions of climate change in Front Royal and then present their findings to local high school students. This activity takes the students from a theoretical understanding of climate change through to the practical implications of the issue. Along the way the students practice a variety of skills, from methods of experimental design to strategies for effective communication. Students also work, individually and in groups, on semester-long projects that require them to take the information and skills they are learning and apply them to a topic of their own choosing. This project is specifically designed to sharpen their writing, research, and oral presentation skills and guide them step-by-step through the revision process. For example, in the spring 2013 semester, students worked on developing monitoring plans for benthic macroinvertebrates at a local organic farm. Many students commented that it was a valuable experience to take a project from start to finish on their own, and some students even stayed after the semester was over to continue working on their project at the request of farm employees.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Since the program’s inception in 2008, 104 students have completed the program. Student assessment has been a key component to monitor student learning achievements. In addition to standardized university course evaluations, students have three one-on-one interviews with faculty members during the semester and complete informal surveys of course content using SurveyMonkey (online assessment tool) every four weeks. The most significant tool used to monitor the progress towards the program goals is a formal Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) test (https://salgsite.org, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research), administered at the beginning and end of the semester. Significant class time is set aside for these meetings and formal evaluations, but the results from 5 years of SALG testing show an improvement of students’ understanding of conservation biology in their answers to questions such as “Presently I understand the relationships between [course] main concepts” (mean increase in rating 1.54 on a 6 point scale (+/- 0.45), and “Presently I am confident that I understand the subject [conservation studies]” (mean increase in rating 1.16 on a 6 point scale (+/- 0.28).

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We see the success of this program through the high rate of placement of alumni in internships, graduate school, and careers linked to conservation. Of the 78 students for which we have data, 51 of them (65%) are pursuing activities or have held positions related to conservation work and the others are completing their undergraduate degrees. Many students state that this program is the reason they enrolled at Mason, and students from both inside and outside Mason enroll because of the referral of previous peer participants. At a larger level, the success of this program has led to increased involvement from conservation professionals, such that we were able to support a second program of study that began in fall 2012. While in residence at SCBI during the Semester students become part of the community of practice, which leads not only to powerful networking opportunities but the realization by staff and faculty that participation in this program can lead to tangible change in the field of conservation. A further sign of the success of our curriculum is the enthusiastic participation of practicing conservation professionals, many who go beyond merely presenting a lecture to sharing days of their time to show students how they actually conduct their work. All students in the SMS are required to spend one day a week in a practicum experience where they shadow a conservation professional. Additionally, the close interaction with faculty a residential program facilitates and flexible scheduling that allows for deeper experiences has created an environment where students are mentored, not just instructed.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The intensity of this model of instruction means planning and adequate staff support are essential to its success. Full-time instructional faculty manage guest instructors, organize field activities, and design and implement activities integrating multiple disciplines that enable students to hone their critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills. Additionally, the SMS cohort size is capped at 20 students to help manage field activities and enable the students to receive individualized attention and mentoring. Larger classes would become logistically impossible and the close peer-to-peer and faculty-student mentoring connections essential to the program would become especially difficult.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Sharing the model of this unique program involves strategies such as visits to classes at Mason and other colleges and universities to describe it to students and faculty, maintaining a vibrant online and social media presence, and attending professional conferences where this model of instruction can be discussed with other instructors, such as the Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting. Expanding these opportunities are an important part of the future plans for dissemination, but we have found the strongest advocates for our program are faculty, professionals, and alumni. Their testimonials are the greatest asset we have in sharing this information. This value is embodied in the following quote from an undergraduate student in the program from fall 2010: “At the start of the Semester I was afraid of graduating. I was not sure of where to go after school ended, or of how to find a rewarding job that would facilitate the changes that I hope to see in the world of conservation. Now I am eager to finish with school and apply what I have learned to the world of ecology and conservation biology.”

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the many people at George Mason University and the Smithsonian Institution who helped create the semester and continue to support it; this work would not be possible without them. We especially thank, Anne Marchant, Jennifer Sevin, Tom Wood, Kate Christen, Andrew Wingfield, M. Randy Gabel, Sonya Kessler, and Kari Morefeld, who have been primary semester faculty, staff and teaching assistants in the past. We also thank Amada Schochet for the use of her quote.

Undergraduates Developing Resources for Lost Crops of Africa

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Title of Abstract: Undergraduates Developing Resources for Lost Crops of Africa

Name of Author: Christopher Cullis
Author Company or Institution: Case Western Reserve University
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology, Genetics, Plant Biology & Botany
Course Levels: Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development
Keywords: critical thinking, data development, research

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: To engage students in a course that can provide research resources for faculty and graduate students in the developing world. These resources could not be generated in a similar timeframe without the activities carried out in this course. Therefore the students materially contribute to the development of a new crop by providing original data for analysis without their having to arrive at a pre-determined ‘correct’ solution. Since the students interact with the faculty and graduate students in Southern Africa the course also provides the students with an experience of international civic engagement and global responsibility. Outcomes The course has been popular with the students, they have become engaged with the material and some have been recruited into related research projects. New data has been developed that is being applied to improving the crops and students from previous years continue to enquire about the progress years later. Student interest has been assessed through permit requests for the course which been oversubscribed each time it is offered. The data generated by the students has contributed to three published papers and is the basis of two manuscripts in preparation and three additional independent research projects. The data is being used to develop molecular markers for various phenotypic characters that the students can measure, for example internode length, flowering time and the number of flowers per inflorescence. They get to understand the relationship between the various ways of categorizing biological material. The new Chemical biology major that has just been developed by the Chemistry Department has organized a follow-on laboratory on Proteomics that will consider using the same experimental material to permit the students to extend their research activities. Students career paths have been altered through taking this course since some initially intent on going to Medical School have switched to research careers.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The method is to include authentic research experiences into the curriculum. This has primarily been done in upper level courses but the experience gained there is being transferred to the introductory courses. These research-based courses allow more students to get authentic research experiences than are available through individual laboratory experiences. The students are also introduced to collaborative research activities since the whole class is working on the same problem, while sharing and interpreting the complete data set. The strategy of developing laboratory course material in the upper level courses and then developing a subset of those experiments to be included in the core courses has previously proved successful, for example, half of the lab exercises in the first lab course of the biology core arose from exercises developed in an earlier iteration of this upper level course.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The evaluation of the project has been through student outcome assessment, adoption of similar methodologies in other courses and wider adoption. The student evaluations show the course is well received and the application to a real world problem is highly valued. The exposure to primary data and the challenges in interpretation develop new analytical skills that can be transferred to other courses. The manipulative skills could be applied to career options.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: The students particularly appreciated the exposure to original data and critical thinking skills. The significant analysis part in each experiment which a scientist should develop in order to improve the ability to carry out research, guided or independent, shows up in the way the students have to reason out for anything that happens in the experiment. The students had to perform the experimental methods that previously they had only been able to learn theoretically. The approach has been adopted in other upper level courses as well as infiltrating the introductory courses and labs. Dissemination within the Institution has had a thought impact but less tangible adoption instances.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The problem with a research-based course is that the material has to be updated each year. If the students have to develop new data then the approach has to be modifiable. Therefore choosing a problem that can be sustained over multiple years is essential. The choice of the domestication and marker-based improvement of marama allowed such a progression. Once the basic genomic information has been developed then the students can carry out specific mapping projects that will feed back directly into the improvement program. New export controls have to be factored into projects that deal external entities.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Dissemination of the project has been at both the local and national levels. The project has been described to various organizations on campus (for example at the University Center for Innovation of Teaching and Education). It has also featured on the web-site of the World-wide Learning Environment through which the first iteration was supported. Results will continue to be published with attribution to the undergraduates who were involved in generating the data. Additionally a full description of the course and associated resources will be published to encourage more participants of the adoption of similar strategies to bring the resources of talented undergraduates to bear on important global problems.

Acknowledgements: Financial support from the McGregor Fund award to the College of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. International Collaborators Professor Karl Kunert, University of Pretoria Dr. J. Vorster, University of Pretoria Dr. C. van der Vyver, University of Stellenbosh Dr. P. Chimwamarombe, University of Namibia Mutsa Takwunda, University of Namibia Emanuel Nepolo, University of Namibia

Bio-Link Aligns With Vision and Change Recommendations

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Title of Abstract: Bio-Link Aligns With Vision and Change Recommendations

Name of Author: Elaine Johnson
Author Company or Institution: City College of San Francisco
Author Title: Bio-Link Executive Director
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Agricultural Sciences, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Internships, Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Contextual Skills-based Evidence-based Competency

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Bio-Link Next Generation National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences builds on the success of the original Bio-Link National Center for Biotechnology that was first funded by NSF in 1998. Bio-Link’s mission is to 1) increase the number and diversity of well-trained technicians in the workforce; 2) meet the growing needs of industry for appropriately trained technicians; and 3) institutionalize community college educational practices that make high-quality education and training in the concepts, tool, skills, processes, regulatory structure, and ethics of biotechnology available to all students. The means for fulfilling the mission are aligned with today’s new biotechnology environment. The goals of the Next Generation Bio-Link National Center are to: 1) strengthen and expand biotechnology education programs across the nation; 2) enable biotechnology faculty, students, and technicians to work more efficiently; and 3) support a smoother transition of students to the technical workforce in the biosciences and related industries.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: In order to achieve its goals, Bio-Link emphasizes three categories of activities and products. Category I. Providing direct services to faculty, teachers, counselors, students, biotechnology programs, and educational institutions. Category II. Stimulating information sharing and collaboration among students, faculty, industry and educational institutions. Category III. Supplying greatly expanded and improved information to students and to life-sciences and related companies. Bio-Link is one of thirteen ATE Centers that is participating in the Synergy Collaboratory for Research, Practice and Transformation that focuses on practices and processes that lead to achieving scale. Bio-Link is also connecting with Vision and Change recommendations suggested by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: The annual five day Summer Fellows Forum provides educators from community colleges and high schools across the country with a series of workshops and presentations. Between 1999 and 2012, some 678 instructors and administrators had attended the Forum. Feedback questionnaires and follow-up surveys administered to Forum participants from 1999 through 2012 indicate that the great majority of them had modified their curriculum (92%) and teaching strategies (87%) as a result of what they had learned.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Together with other workshops conducted by the Center (over 384 to date), Bio-Link’s professional development has made a substantial impact on biotechnology education across the country. Instructors who have participated in Bio-Link professional development over the years teach approximately 128,800 students (52,800 by Forum participants and 76,000 by other workshop participants).

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: One challenge was the lack of awareness about biotechnology careers. In every one of the past three years, the phrase 'biotech careers' has been one of the top ten search terms that people use to find the Bio-Link web site. The repeated use of this phrase for web searches indicates a strong interest in locating information about biotech careers. Bio-Link officially launched www.biotech-careers.org at the 2012 Bio-Link Summer Fellows Forum. We see the career site functioning in the following ways: Students will come to the site to learn about different biotech careers. They will look at the photo journals, read the interviews, and watch videos to see people who work in biotech jobs and hear what they have to say about the careers. They may also read the articles to learn about job-hunting tips or new job areas.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The Clearinghouse is as an online collection of 130 instructional and curriculum materials for biotechnology. Clearinghouse website usage metrics indicate that Bio-Link’s strategies for improving and managing the Clearinghouse are proving effective, and there are positive trends in site usage from 2010-2011 to 2011-2012. Total unique visitors continued to grow, (767 to 890), as did total visits (1,086 to 1,324), average visit duration, and the percentage of repeat visitors (34% to 37%). In the National Biotechnology Program Survey, almost three-quarters (73%) of the respondents indicated that they had a high level of interest in the Clearinghouse, the highest of any Bio-Link product or service.

Acknowledgements: NSF funding of Bio-Link through Award No. 0903317 with a total of $5,086,040 from September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2014. Co-PI's: Barton Gledhill, VMD, PhD; Linnea Fletcher, PhD, Austin Community College; Sandra Porter, PhD, Digital World Biology; Lisa Seidman, PhD, Madison College. Evaluators: Dan Weiler and Candiya Mann Industry Partners who have provided support and insight and educators across the nation who have provided guidance and collaboration.

Classroom Research Experience for Community College Students

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Title of Abstract: Classroom Research Experience for Community College Students

Name of Author: Gita Bangera
Author Company or Institution: Bellevue College
Author Title: Assistant Dean
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: 1483, Agricultural Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Plant Biology & Botany, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: Undergraduate-Research Research-as-pedagogy Student-centered Genomics Bioinformatics

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): K. Harrington, Tacoma Community College A. Gargas, Symbiology LLC R. Jeffers, Bellevue College C. Vermilyea, Bellevue College L. Thomashow, USDA-ARS D. Weller, USDA-ARS

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Vision and Change report recommends introducing research early and throughout the biology curriculum and demonstrating the passion of scientists for their fields. ComGen - Authentic Research Experiences Expansion project (NSF # 1225857) aims to take the field tested ComGen approach of using authentic research as pedagogy to community colleges (CCs) in the Pacific Northwest. The project is a continuation of a successful strategy of providing CC students with authentic research experiences early in their academic careers. We had originally developed a “mini-graduate school” course with previous funding (NSF# 0717470) where students generate, analyze and communicate new genomic data and critically analyze original scientific literature; we then modified and adapted critical components of this course to fit into a standard Majors’ Cell and Molecular Biology introductory course and piloted it successfully (McCook A. 2011 333: 1572-1573. Wei CA & T Woodin. 2011. CBE - Life Sciences Education 10: 123-131.). Our current project focuses on the dissemination of this course within the Pacific Northwest region and on developing related curricula for other courses within the Life Sciences spectrum. Our student impact outcomes include improved critical thinking skills, increasing students’ knowledge of the process of science and confidence in visualizing themselves as scientists, and increased retention of students in STEM fields. Our overarching goal is to promote widespread adoption of a sustainable, student-focused and institutionalized culture of research pedagogy among regional CCs. To achieve this goal we want to: 1. Create transformative changes in STEM education by integrating easily adoptable authentic research experiences into community college curricula; 2. Build faculty and institutional capacity for providing authentic research experiences to community college students; and 3. Build a sustainable research network to help enrich and expand impact.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: We are training faculty from the region’s CCs in using the pedagogical and assessment tools developed from previous NSF funding with workshops customized to their individual needs. We are also developing new tools with input from the faculty participants; providing ongoing support for the faculty for implementation of the curriculum and providing venues for interaction between CC and research faculty for development of a Community of Practice. Our key goal is to develop faculty capacity to follow the “Hands on/Hands off” pedagogical approach: the experience is “hands on” for students and “hands off” for faculty i.e. faculty are encouraged to provide the minimum amount of scaffolding and allow students to take charge of the learning process.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We have used nationally accepted instruments such as the CURE survey (Lopatto D, et al. 2008. Undergraduate research: Genomics education partnership. Science 322: 684-685.) and our own internally developed assessment tools to document the impact on students and other outcomes. These include an instrument for assessing students’ grasp of the technical details of the research and a survey of the faculty receiving students after their ComGen experience. We are continuing to develop and optimize our assessment instruments with input from the participating faculty.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We are currently analyzing the data from our first year of the project but we have shown impact on students’ ability to: perform the technical components of the research, develop tolerance for obstacles in research and visualize themselves as scientists in our pilot work in the previous grant. We have found that even faculty with multiple decades of teaching experience have adopted this approach and found it to be empowering both for themselves and the students. Faculty who have incorporated this teaching method into their curricula insist that they have no interest in returning to the traditional modes of teaching and have started incorporating tools from this process into their other courses as well.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: So far we have not run into any unexpected challenges in this process. The challenges that we have faced are the usual issues of trying to coordinate the training time for faculty.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: We have so far trained faculty from seven institutions and of these four are already implementing the ComGen pedagogy model. We plan to expand our dissemination efforts to include at least 15 CCs in the Pacific Northwest. We have recruited faculty at the NorthWest Biology Instructors Organization meeting and by direct contact through the network of Department Chairs. As one of 40 Vision and Change Leadership fellows as part of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE), the Principal Investigator will also use the North West PULSE conference (NSF EAGER 1345033) to recruit more faculty not just from the CCs but other (especially minority serving institutions) as well.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to useful input from Jason Fuller, Allen Farrand, Stephen Clark, Pamela Pape-Lindstrom and Stacey Gregersen.