Accelerated Transformation at Yale and Beyond

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Title of Abstract: Accelerated Transformation at Yale and Beyond

Name of Author: Jennifer Frederick
Author Company or Institution: Yale University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses, STEM education
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
Keywords: Biology education Faculty development Introductory research course Institutional change

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jo Handelsman, Yale University Phineas Rose, Yale University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The Center for Scientific Teaching (CST) at Yale leads a national effort to transform undergraduate science teaching at colleges and universities across the United States. Our mission has been inspired and informed by reports such as Biology 2010, the AAAS Vision and Change meeting report, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) 2012 “Engage to Excel” report. We employ the evidence-based method of scientific teaching and its cornerstones - active learning, diversity, and assessment - in programs to train faculty, instructors, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students in teaching and mentoring. By promoting better teaching, our aim is to inspire a larger, more diverse population of college students to pursue majors and careers in science.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: 4 professors redesigning introductory biology (Biology 101-104, a year-long course in four modules) requested training in scientific teaching. We offered a customized National Academies Summer Institute in July 2012. Twenty-four science and engineering faculty and instructors attended the 4-day training. Jo Handelsman and Jennifer Frederick are co-PIs on a Davis Education Foundation award to support development of a new undergraduate course that follows the PCAST recommendation to provide research experiences early in college. The grant supports postdocs as key instructional partners for our ?From Microbes to Molecules? research course and for the Biology 101-104 course. Additional support for an expanded ?Small World Initiative? from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will fund training for representatives from 24 Pilot Partner institutions. Instructors will attend training and implement the research course at their institution and contribute to evaluation and assessment efforts. This program creates a vehicle for spreading effective STEM teaching approaches while simultaneously tapping into new resources for antibiotic discovery, and provides a large cohort of students with key roles in advancing microbiology research. CST efforts promote transformation by encouraging a more diverse population of students to major in and pursue careers in STEM fields. Our evaluation director developed a persistence model that incorporates theories of learning, motivation, and professional socialization as a framework for examining programs and practices that encourage students to persist in STEM. Our 2012 PNAS paper, “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students” (Moss-Racusin et al) demonstrated pervasive gender bias among academic scientists. Since raising awareness can be an effective intervention, we are collaborating with a playwright on a dramatic work based on bias examples collected through personal interviews with male and female scientists.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Yale transformation: faculty participation in the Yale Summer Institute, tracking continued involvement in the follow up strategy meetings and teaching discussions, expansion of the science education community beyond those who attended the 2012 Yale Summer Institute, demand for additional training in scientific teaching, influence on courses, curricula, and student persistence in and attitudes about STEM courses at Yale (both majors and non-majors) Beyond Yale: growth and impact of the Small World Initiative will be evaluated by interest in course implementation at collaborating institutions and the outcomes of crowdsourcing antibiotic discovery data, numbers of Pilot Partners, securing additional funding STEM education nationwide: we will evaluate use of the persistence model to influence institutional policy and programs; the impact of the film project as a gender bias intervention will be rigorously tested through controlled social scientific experiments

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Major outcomes of the first Yale SI include the nucleation of a multi-disciplinary community of science educators, new instructional materials available to the larger community, increased demand for science education seminars, and increased interest in the Yale Scientific Teaching Fellows Program (semester-long pedagogy courses for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars offered in both life sciences and physical sciences versions). Our follow-up lunch discussions with Yale SI alums provide rich examples of evidence-based pedagogy in Yale classrooms and serve as points of connection for this community. The science education network here continues to grow and we have experienced a steady increase in teaching consultation requests from colleagues interested in infusing active learning into their teaching. STEM educational transformation at Yale has an impact on the national landscape as well, and our involvement in the National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (submitted under separate abstract) positions us to continue contributing to broader efforts to transform science education.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Resistance to prioritizing educational initiatives at a research institution remains a challenge. Teaching opportunities for postdoctoral scholars are now permitted under certain conditions (PI and funding agency approval, appropriate adjustments to effort), although we have been part of the institutional conversation to broaden access to valuable training and experience. Top-level administrative support has been a critical factor in surmounting these challenges, although more leverage could be provided by sweeping recommendations and policies from governmental funding agencies.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Products of Center for Scientific Teaching initiatives will be made available to the public as follows: - Instructional materials developed at the Yale Summer Institute are available online - The curriculum for the introductory biology research course will be available through a manuscript (in preparation); eventually we will offer open access to pilot tested and revised curricula for a variety of research course formats - The persistence model is expected to be published in Science later in 2013 - The outcomes of the gender bias film project will be published; if successful, the intervention and supporting materials will be made widely available

Acknowledgements: Jo Handelsman, Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching Mark Graham, Evaluation Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching Corinne Moss-Racusin, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Skidmore College Evava Pietri, Postdoc, Yale Department of Psychology and the Center for Scientific Teaching Tiffany Tsang, Postdoc, the Center for Scientific Teaching

The National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (NASTA)

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Title of Abstract: The National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance (NASTA)

Name of Author: Jo Handelsman
Author Company or Institution: Yale University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
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
Keywords: Faculty development STEM education Institutional change Diversity

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Jennifer Frederick, Yale University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The goals of the annual National Academies Summer Institutes for Undergraduate Education in Biology (SI; https://www.academiessummerinstitute.org/) are closely intertwined with central aims of the AAAS Vision & Change initiative. Launched in 2004 in response to recommendations in the 2003 NRC report Bio2010, the SI was designed as an intensive professional development workshop to transform undergraduate biology instruction, particularly in large introductory courses, by training university faculty in the principles and practice of research-based teaching. Departments apply to send teams to the SI, including administrators, senior and junior faculty. Interactive sessions on current learning research, active learning, assessment, and capitalizing on diversity guide participants in developing innovative instructional materials. Support has been primarily through grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), first to the University of Wisconsin's Program for Scientific Teaching and then to the Center for Scientific Teaching at Yale (CST) where the program is now based. At a 2012 leadership summit meeting designed to inform ongoing development of regional SIs as well as increase their impact, forty SI alums and leaders convened in Madison to work on 5 topics: alumni communication and sharing instructional materials; classroom assessment and biology education research; capitalizing on diversity; institutional change; and national presence. The corresponding workgroups are continuing their efforts on these topics, which align with HHMI’s evaluation interest in identifying key SI elements associated with faculty and institutional change. A major outcome of the summit meeting was a decision to expand the scope and activities of the SI. The National Academies Governing Board recently approved the SI’s request to rename the initiative as the 'National Academies Scientific Teaching Alliance' (NASTA) to reflect expanded emphases.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: NASTA will coordinate and integrate a variety of programs, designed to: 1) inform the scientific and science education communities about effective, evidence-based teaching practices, 2) continue providing professional development to current and future faculty in the application of effective pedagogies through regional National Academies Summer Institutes (SIs), and 3) study and report on the reach and impacts of the SIs and related activities through assessment coordinated by Yale’s CST. While the SIs will remain the centerpiece of its activities, NASTA also plans to offer scientific teaching workshops at professional meetings, organize on-campus workshops on effective pedagogical practices for present and future faculty and administrators, and provide a platform for collaborative research across institutions to evaluate the impact of SI-promoted instructional practices. Looking forward, the influence of NASTA will be amplified by maintaining strong ties with other vigorous transformation initiatives such as Vision & Change.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: From 2004-2010, approximately 35 faculty per year were trained at annual SIs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Well-documented success (e.g. Pfund et al., Science 324:470-471, 2009) and increasing demand prompted expansion to seven regional SIs between 2011 and 2012, along with increased evaluation efforts to maintain program fidelity and measure impact. To date, 685 participants representing almost all major U.S. research universities have trained at an SI. Evaluation has shown (ibid.) that SI graduates change their approach to teaching. In addition, many become agents of change at their home institutions, regionally, and nationally. Current evaluation efforts include a shift toward quantitative mixed methods and using a database for more sophisticated analysis of survey responses. In the current life cycle, we are beginning to examine practices adopted by faculty after they return to their home institutions. In the future, we intend to study the effect on student learning.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Examples of far-reaching impacts of the SI initiative include: * Regional SIs have led to development of regional networks, which have spawned a four-institution scientific teaching TA training collaboration in the Northeast, and emerging research and evaluation partnerships. * In 2009, some 10% of the participants at the national symposium on Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education were SI alumns. * Five of the 40 recently chosen PULSE fellows are SI alumns. * SI alumns created (in 2010) and continue to lead the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER). * SI alumns have presented at national meetings of professional societies (for example, scientific teaching workshops held at ACSB in 2011, AAAS in 2012). * Numerous publications by SI alumns in peer-reviewed education journals have documented increased student learning resulting from application of scientific teaching principles. * Development of instructional materials from the SI’s is being integrated with the Scientific Teaching Toolbox project and the CourseSource initiative. * SI leaders have described the SIs as a model for professional development of science faculty to numerous groups, including the National Academies (2010) and the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (2012) * The SI model is spreading internationally; SI staff have conducted workshops in India and Jordan, and several foreign institutions have sent teams to an SI.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: As the impact of the SIs broadens, emphasis on transformation initiatives that go beyond classroom instruction has grown. Many of our participants arrive at the SI with prior knowledge of the foundational curriculum (e.g., Bloom’s Taxonomy, backward design, engaging teaching methods) and are eager to become agents of change. The 2012 leadership summit was a first step to address broad challenges such as diversity, curating and sharing instructional materials, and institutional transformation. NASTA evolved from the SI curriculum and the larger population impacted by its success; the new alliance will provide an infrastructure for advancing this work and collaborating with and learning from other transformation-minded groups across the STEM education landscape.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Dissemination to date includes a book (Handelsman et al., 2007, 'Scientific Teaching,' W.H. Freeman), articles (e.g. e.g. Pfund et al., Science 324:470-471, 2009), instructional materials shared online (https://cst.yale.edu/teachable-tidbit-general-categories); the official launch of NASTA will be celebrated at a gathering at the National Academy of Sciences headquarters planned for August 2014.

Acknowledgements: Michelle Withers, Director of NASTA and Associate Professor of Biology, West Virginia University William B. Wood, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder Jenny Frederick, Co-director of the Center for Scientific Teaching, Yale University Mark Graham, Evaluation Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching, Yale University James Young, Executive Director of the Center for Scientific Teaching, Yale University

Introducing the NWBC: Introductory Biology for All Students

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Title of Abstract: Introducing the NWBC: Introductory Biology for All Students

Name of Author: Stasinos Stavrianeas
Author Company or Institution: Willamette University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: faculty development, interdisciplinarity, regional network, introductory courses

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Marlene Moore, Willamette University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The development of the Vision and Change mandate coincided with an ongoing and vibrant conversation on biology education among the members of the PortPKAL network. The diversity of learning objectives, resources, and needs was reflected in the work of the Willamette Valley Biology Education Network (WVBEN), a nascent collaborative effort aiming at transforming the undergraduate biology curriculum. WVBEN leaders benefited from an RCN-UBE incubator grant to promote collaboration of biology faculty within and between institutions in the Pacific Northwest. One major outcome of this ongoing work is the creation of the Northwest Biosciences Consortium (NWBC) that aims to adopt the Vision and Change initiative and create modern, student-centered, integrated, and investigative introductory biology experiences for all students. The first outcome from this collaborative effort is the submission of a proposal to transform the introductory biology curriculum (outcome pending). The specific aims of this proposal are: * Develop Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) aligned with Vision and Change concepts and competencies, allowing students to gain appreciation for the scientific process and reflect on their learning. * Develop a series of customizable modules that can be incorporated into any first-year or introductory biology sequence that reflects our commitment to scientific literacy for all students and establishes a foundation for future majors. * Develop course descriptions aligned with Vision and Change to facilitate curriculum design and student transition, especially from the 2-year to 4-year institutions. * Use the NWBC to foster professional development, provide support, promote dissemination, and legitimize the need for change at the faculty member’s home institution.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The NWBC’s initial emphasis on transforming introductory biology will be followed by curricular and pedagogical revisions in the upper-division courses. In accomplishing these goals the NWBC will foster and support faculty development and collaborations within and between institutions. As the group takes its first steps towards these goals we will be benefit greatly from the WVBEN leaders, the PULSE Fellows in our region and beyond, and educators across the country who work on similar initiatives (i.e. BioQUEST, IBP, SABER).

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 effort is very recent, and we are in the process of developing our approach towards the stated objectives. However, over the past few years Willamette University initiated the transformation of its biology curriculum in alignment with Vision and Change through curricular realignment, strategic hiring, and increased emphasis on modern science pedagogy. More importantly, in addressing the Vision and Change mandate we established meaningful collaborations with colleagues in other departments, we share instruments and facilities, and streamlined our approach to institutional planning and grants. In accomplishing so much in such a short time, we benefited greatly by the vision of our administration and the enthusiasm of our several new colleagues, who easily cross departmental boundaries. This transformation in attitude and our work at breaking down the ‘departmental silo’ mentality started through initial discussions among colleagues across the sciences on issues that are common to all: student learning, classroom pedagogy, assessment strategies, and faculty teaching and research collaborations. These discussions were facilitated through our own iScience framework and supported by an external grant for faculty development. Thus, we have taken the first few steps towards the implementation of Vision and Change in the biology curriculum, and we have simultaneously established communication channels with our colleagues in the other science departments to facilitate the incorporation of interdisciplinary elements in the biology curriculum.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: This undertaking represents a real shift in introductory biology education in the Pacific Northwest. The establishment of this regional pedagogical network, the development of a comprehensive framework to advance evidence-based STEM pedagogies for all students, and the attention to faculty mentoring and support are the hallmarks of this proposal. This community of biology educators is a representative slice of academia as it consists of faculty of all ranks, diverse pedagogical experiences and scientific training. The NWBC objectives are broad, as faculty from public, private, 2-year, and 4-year institutions will implement the Vision and Change mandate in the introductory biology curriculum. The development of a concept inventory based on the core concepts and competencies will facilitate discussions on curriculum development and credit transfers at institutions in our region and beyond. Through a comprehensive assessment and dissemination plan, this project will enhance understanding of how we can change institutional cultures and faculty activities for the benefit of majors and non-majors alike. The NWBC has the potential to transform the educational experience for a very large and diverse population of undergraduates, and become a model for other educational groups/consortia to adopt Vision and Change in their biology curricula.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: We anticipate that the biggest challenge to this effort will be institutional inertia, reflective of inflexible curriculum structure, inadequacy of facilities and/or resources, and faculty resistance to new ideas. By focusing on the introductory curriculum targeting all students we hope to facilitate curricular transformation across the spectrum of biological sciences.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: In this effort we will be collaborating with Drs. Kimberly Tanner (UC San Francisco) and David Lopatto (Grinnell College), two prominent experts on assessment. We will complete the assessment plan by the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year. The results of this work will be disseminated widely through conference presentations, proceedings, faculty workshops, and submissions to peer-reviewed journals.

Acknowledgements: The authors recognize the NWBC Co-PIs: Walter Shriner (Mount Hood Community College), Stacey Kiser (Lane Community College), Jeff Brown (University of Portland), Erin Baumgartner (Western Oregon University), Gary Tallman (Willamette University), Anne Kruchten and Chris Gaiser (Linfield College), and Lori Kayes (Oregon State University).

Inquiry-Based Genomics Lab Module Collection

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Title of Abstract: Inquiry-Based Genomics Lab Module Collection

Name of Author: Lois Banta
Author Company or Institution: Williams College
Author Title: Associate Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Cell Biology, Ecology and Environmental Biology, Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, Genetics, Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Organismal Biology, Physiology & Anatomy, Plant Biology & Botany, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development
Keywords: inquiry-based integrative genomics bioinformatics faculty-development

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Erica J. Crespi, Vassar College Ross H. Nehm, Ohio State University Jodi A. Schwarz, Vassar College Susan Singer, Carleton College Cathryn A. Manduca, Carleton College Eliot C. Bush, Harvey Mudd College Elizabeth Collins, Vassar College Cara M. Constance, Hiram College Derek Dean, Williams College David Esteban, Vassar College Sean Fox, Carleton College John McDaris, Carleton College Carol Ann Paul, Wellesley College Ginny Quinan, Wellesley College Kathleen M. Raley-Susman, Vassar College Marc L. Smith, Vassar College Christopher S. Wallace, Whitman College Ginger S. Withers, Whitman College Lynn Caporale, Consultant

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The integration of genomic and bioinformatic approaches into undergraduate curricula represents one response to the national calls for biology teaching that is more quantitative and that promotes deeper understanding of biological systems through interdisciplinary analyses. Yet relatively few of the faculty members who teach undergraduate biology have expertise in the fields of genomics or bioinformatics. For these instructors, designing new teaching labs in a field that is developing so rapidly can feel particularly daunting. Our genomics education initiative was designed to address the challenges of helping faculty members integrate genome-scale science into the undergraduate classroom.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The project utilized a grassroots model for faculty development, by supporting a national consortium of faculty members from eight liberal arts colleges in 1) learning about genomics and bioinformatics; 2) developing curriculum and laboratory teaching materials that stem from their own research and/or teaching interests, and that are informed by research in the learning sciences; and 3) devising tools to evaluate the efficacy of their genomics curricular innovations. Three workshops over three years supported these goals through a combination of learning from expertise within the participating group and from outside expertise on specific topics. The workshops brought together a total of 34 faculty participants from 19 institutions to develop a set of lab modules containing a substantial genomics component. Building on a proven faculty development model formulated by the geoscience education community, we complemented the multi-workshop program with a web-based interactive information portal. The initiative was structured such that the iterative interactions resulting from our three-workshop series would allow participants to share the experience of curriculum development, from the inception of an idea for a curricular module to the assessment of the implementation of that module, thereby generating a community of genomics educators among undergraduate institutions in the process. In addition, by bringing together educators from different institutions and scientific backgrounds, we aimed to stimulate discussion of interdisciplinary approaches to teaching genomics and facilitate the establishment of collaborations with other colleges and universities.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Products include peer-reviewed, guided inquiry-based, integrated instructional units (I3Us) adaptable to a range of teaching settings, with a focus on both model and non-model systems. Each curricular module is built on vetted design principles: (1) they have clear pedagogical objectives; (2) they are integrated with lessons taught in the lecture; (3) they are designed to integrate the learning of science content with learning about the process of science; and (4) they require student reflection and discussion (National Research Council, America’s Lab Report, Committee on High School Science Laboratories: Role and Vision; 2005). Each I3U was peer reviewed by fellow participants, as well as by a professional project consultant who has extensive experience with web-based description of teaching materials using this format to ensure that the I3U met the design criteria articulated above, and to evaluate whether the Activity Sheet provided both an easily accessible overview of the content and enough detailed information for other instructors to adapt and implement the material and its associated assessment strategies.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Eleven I3Us were designed and implemented as multi-week modules within the context of an existing biology course (e.g., Microbiology, Comparative Anatomy, Introduction to Neurobiology); an additional three I3Us were incorporated into interdisciplinary Biology/Computer Science classes. Although these I3Us were designed for courses currently taught by the project participant within the specific institution’s curriculum, we propose that they can be inserted into other courses that encompass similar content and/or learning goals. We have received numerous communications from colleagues at other institutions who have adapted our I3Us for their courses.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Many participants lacked expertise needed to analyze sequence data or design wet labs and were overwhelmed by the array of possible tools, deciding which tools were useful in which scientific contexts, and the challenges of mastering their user interfaces. Some were concerned about teaching material with which they had little previous scientific experience. Most were isolated from colleagues who shared their interest or had the needed expertise to support their initial learning in this area. We provided hands-on training in three intensive days of short workshops, enabling participants to become familiar with bioinformatic tools for finding sequences, predicting the structure of proteins, visualizing and comparing genomes, and constructing phylogenetic trees. Participants who needed significantly more time to explore the tools and develop self-sufficiency maintained communication with at least one of the presenters over the course of the year, to obtain more training and to get ideas. For many, adapting bioinformatics tools into their modules was more easily accomplished by asking phylogenetic questions rather than adapting tools that could be used to explore genome-level questions of gene function or structure. The greatest challenge was that no robust assessment system, characterized by valid and reliable instruments evaluated by experts in education and psychometrics, existed to assess the efficacy of newly developed genomics and bioinformatics curricula. To help faculty build assessment tools, we provided: (1) A professional development session for faculty participants that reviewed the basics of educational assessment and the types of tools that could be employed in assessment efforts; (2) Individualized consultations to help participants build their assessments; and (3) Individualized consultations with faculty to assist in the interpretation of assessment data derived from point (2) above.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: All modules, together with extensive supporting material, are accessible on a dedicated website (https://serc.carleton.edu/genomics/activities.html) that also provides links to bioinformatics tools and on-line assessment and pedagogical resources, as well as all presentations from all three workshops, pre- and post-workshop content, and suggested readings provided by workshop leaders. The project website serves as a portal to Activity Sheets describing each I3U; these Activity Sheets include learning goals, teaching tips, and links to teaching materials, as well as downloadable assessment tools, that can be customized by any interested educator. Information about the collection of I3Us has been disseminated via publication.

Acknowledgements: This information has been published previously (Cell Biology Education-Life Science Education 11:203-208; 2012). The project was funded by the Teagle Foundation, with supplemental support from Williams College, Vassar College, and Schering-Plough.

A New Microbiology Curriculum Based on Vision & Change

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Title of Abstract: A New Microbiology Curriculum Based on Vision & Change

Name of Author: Ann Stevens
Author Company or Institution: Virginia Tech
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Microbiology, Virology
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Introductory Course(s), Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: General Microbiology, curricular guidelines, learning outcomes, backward design, professional society network

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Sue Merkel, Cornell University Amy Chang, American Society for Microbiology

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Meaningful reform must come from many venues, including faculty and professional societies. In particular, professional societies play a critical and unique role as they have national stature, deep networks and resources, and respect from a wide range of faculty. In 2010, the AAAS and the NSF released the report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. In light of these recommendations, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) revised its curriculum guidelines for introductory microbiology courses to emphasize deep understanding of core concepts, critical thinking and essential laboratory skills. In 2011, the ASM appointed a task force to develop a curriculum that would be relevant to both biology majors and allied health students. Early on, the task force adopted the five overarching concepts presented in Vision and Change. A sixth concept based on the potential applications of microbiology was added. The final list of core concepts is: evolution, cell structure and function, metabolic pathways, information flow and genetics, microbial systems and the impact of microorganisms.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Task force members affirmed the process outlined by Vision and Change and adopted the framework of ‘backwards design’ (Wiggins and McTighe), in which curricula are designed around learning goals and assessments. Initially, they examined curricula from a variety of introductory microbiology courses and created a list of 24 ‘fundamental statements.’ Each fundamental statement is linked to one core concept and identifies an essential concept in microbiology. For example, a fundamental statement under the core concept of ‘Metabolic Pathways’ is ‘The growth of microorganisms can be controlled by physical, chemical, mechanical, or biological means.’ Each statement is purposefully broad, with the intention that educators use the statements to develop learning goals and assessments particular to their courses. The task force further embraced development of student skills, including understanding the process of science, communication and collaboration skills, quantitative competency, and the ability to interpret data. They added key laboratory skills which are critical for microbiology. Knowing it was vital to engage the educator community, the task force solicited feedback from ASM members on three occasions. The first was via an online survey that asked respondents to rate each fundamental statement and suggest ideas for additional ones. Based on feedback from more than 165 educators, the task force produced a second draft and subsequently solicited feedback from participants at the 2011 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE). Over 140 educators participated, providing critical feedback. The third draft was published in the Society’s monthly magazine for members (nearly 40,000 readers) as well as on the ASM website (www.asm.org). Comments were collected from the community, which led to the final version. Feedback indicates a consensus on the fundamental knowledge that students should obtain in microbiology.

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 are currently working to identify educators who have adopted the curriculum to document its implementation. In addition, because this represents a significant change in how many educators teach, we are engaging the community in discussions about how to use the guidelines and developing resources to encourage adoption. We will work with educators at a variety of different institutions to assess the impact of this new approach through surveys and questionnaires.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Our hope is that as they adopt this curriculum, educators will also adopt the process of backward design. Our first step is to help educators learn how to write learning objectives, which guide students to understand the fundamental statements. To that end, ASM sponsored a plenary working session at the 2013 ASMCUE helping the participants to write learning outcomes that are mapped to the ASM curriculum guidelines. An ASM Task Committee is being formed to shepherd this work through a consensus-building process.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The new curriculum is asking most educators to change how they teach, from being content based to being focused on skills and learning. To ensure community acceptance of the ASM guidelines, the necessary scaffolding for faculty to implement guidelines and change practices is paramount. The plan is to develop a clearinghouse of practical, user-friendly resources during 2013-2014 (e.g. learning outcomes mapped to core concepts and accompanied by active learning activities) and a virtual community of practitioners involved in classroom improvements to help microbiology faculty adopt the guidelines. Finally, the ASM is engaging textbook writers and publishers to work together to advance the curriculum.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: This community-driven, consensus-building approach ensures that microbiology educators will incorporate the ASM recommended guidelines in future activities, presentations, classes, courses and programs. The national framework of concepts, statements, assessments and learning goals enable educators to more easily adapt the guidelines to their teaching needs. The ASM Task Committee will match teaching resources with learning goals, providing a range of activities that illustrate each fundamental statement in numerous ways for diverse student audiences. The resources and approaches enable students to build an enduring understanding of core microbiology concepts, as was called for in Vision and Change. Ultimately, the guidelines and supporting material have been developed by, with and for microbiologists. The ASM approach of engaging a leading disciplinary society in developing, implementing and advancing curriculum guidelines is a model for other societies.

Acknowledgements: NA

BioBook: A Flexible Alternative to Traditional Textbooks

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Title of Abstract: BioBook: A Flexible Alternative to Traditional Textbooks

Name of Author: A. Daniel Johnson
Author Company or Institution: Wake Forest University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: gateway course, inquiry learning, constructivism, open-source

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Sabrina D. Setaro, The Adapa Project Jed C. Macosko, Wake Forest University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: General biology is 1 of 5 college ‘gateway’ courses, impacting majors and non-majors alike. Yet 30% (~1 in 3) of students fail it their first time. Many leave STEM- or health-related career tracks; others, college entirely. Reforms in instructional approaches are needed to remedy this, but we simultaneously must rethink how content knowledge is provided to students. Teachers and students need flexible, scalable alternatives to traditional printed textbooks. Next-generation content resources must be reliable, yet also build on current evidence of best practices, support a variety of instructional models, and adapt to new modalities as they emerge.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Using wiki markup and other robust open-source technologies, we assembled the ALT Framework, a set of no/low-cost tools that eliminate many barriers to collaborative content development, authoring, workflow management, distribution, and evaluation. Within this framework we developed BioBook, an open-access alternative to traditional print texts. BioBook supports how students learn naturally, and provides the flexibility needed to match many different learning styles. Students do more than just learn biology concepts; they develop thinking skills that help them master biology. Instructors blend their own pre-existing resources with ours, and reorganize, revise, modify and extend BioBook to meet their students specific needs and classroom goals. Students can explore topics in a sequence that makes most sense to them, and use the specific supplemental tools that match how they learn most effectively. Social media supports peer-to-peer collaborative learning. Integrated self-assessment makes it easy for students identify what they do not understand yet.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: During AY2011-12, 504 students and 15 instructors at 4 colleges and universities conducted a 2-week evaluation of a pilot module on Mendelian and molecular genetics. Using institutional data we compared course completion, mastery, deeper learning, and persistence of control (n=101) and test (n=403) groups. End-of-course surveys estimated student self-efficacy in learning about STEM; rated student attitudes and mindset towards science in general, and biology specifically; and asked students and instructors about their experiences with BioBook.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Overall, >80% of students and instructors said they would prefer to use BioBook versus a typical textbook. Over 60% of students said it helped them: 1) understand concepts and connections; 2) track learning progress; 3) see connections among key biological concepts; & 4) see what they do not yet know. Over 50% said they would spend more time studying biology using BioBook. We also observed small but consistent gains in students’ thinking about biology. Student mean, median, and maximum scores on CLASS-Bio (which compares student views to those of a practicing expert) were higher for BioBook users. The same students also scored higher on 13 items from The Biology Self-Efficacy Scale (a measure of student confidence in their ability to learn and understand biology-related concepts.) This project has had a dramatic impact on undergraduate students working as content developers, editors, artists, and authors too. Most become highly invested and begin telling friends how much more they are learning about biology.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: We experienced 3 primary barriers to change: faculty inertia, faculty resistance to changing past practices, and institutional administration. Given faculty workloads continue to rise, there is obvious attraction in “staying with what has always worked.” Faculty did not care for formal presentations of learning theories and best practices (i.e., lectures); instead we captured interest more easily if we focused on ‘pain points,’ i.e., particular teaching concerns or challenges, then showed how BioBook might address those issues. We also drew heavily on diffusion of innovation models from Rogers et al., focusing on activating local communication networks, recruiting central opinion leaders, and providing opportunities for potential adoptees to observe and try out our approach before committing to scale-up. Administrative hurdles were our greatest challenge; outside of our own institution, data on student persistence or performance were very difficult to obtain, even after students provided informed consent.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Instructors in 4 courses at WFU (3 in biology, 1 in physics) are using the ALT Framework to support collaborative writing projects by their students. We continue to recruit faculty and students to develop modules for BioBook, and to use the framework to build similar open-access resources. Since the original trials we have expanded BioBook significantly. Currently it has >300 pages on topics spanning all of non-majors general biology, all with learning goals and links to online resources, and most with self-assessment quizzes. WFU has adopted a full-semester version of BioBook as their primary course textbook for nonmajors, and a testing partner has committed to adoption for Fall 2013. BioBook is available for use as a sole classroom text, supplemental text, or for individual study through our webhost (www.adapaproject.org). Students and instructors can access the public edition of BioBook at no cost (under the terms of a Creative Commons license). Instructors who want to build an alternative edition or use advanced tracking tools can choose one of several adoption strategies. We established The Adapa Project to manage scale-up, adoption by institutions, and applications of our authoring toolset to other topics. Our goal is to find or build, evaluate, and distribute additional tools and resources that embody current research on how people learn, can adapt to local needs, are effective and affordable on a broad scale, and make science more accessible and engaging.

Acknowledgements: We wish to thank Rogan Kersch (WFU Provost), Rick Matthews (CIO and Assoc. Provost for IS and Technology, WFU), and the program officers and staff of NGLC for their financial support and their enthusiasm for this project.

Raising the PULSE: Inspiring Departments to Utilize V&C

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Title of Abstract: Raising the PULSE: Inspiring Departments to Utilize V&C

Name of Author: William Davis
Author Company or Institution: Washington State University
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development
Approaches: Mixed Approach
Keywords: PULSE Department Network Awareness Outreach

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Judy Awong-Taylor, Georgia Gwinnett College Gita Bangera, Bellevue Community College Richard Cardullo, University of California-Riverside Ellen Goldey, Wofford College Melanie Lee-Brown, Guilford College Cynthia Peterson, University of Tennessee-Knoxville April Hill, University of Richmond

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Supported by a collaborative of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences-National Institutes of Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, forty life science educators with experience as departmental and/or institutional administrators were selected in Fall 2012 as Leadership Fellows for the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE). A novel experiment in educational leadership, the Fellows’ charge is to inspire departments to undertake the hard work of transforming their programs, as called for in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action. The 40 Fellows represent an ethnically diverse and gender-balanced group from institutions that span the full range of Carnegie Classification. Further, PULSE has drawn a virtual community of stakeholders (currently 975 strong; www.pulsecommunity.org) who are engaged in conversations about the challenges, opportunities, and successes surrounding the implementation of Vision and Change. To raise awareness of PULSE and Vision and Change, eight Fellows comprise the working group Raising the PULSE (RtP), which is one of four main PULSE working groups. The RtP group members are: Judy Awong-Taylor (Georgia Gwinnett College), Gita Bangera (Bellevue Community College), Richard Cardullo (University of California-Riverside), William B. Davis (Washington State University), Ellen Goldey (Wofford College), April Hill (University of Richmond), Melanie Lee-Brown (Guilford College), and Cynthia Peterson (University of Tennessee-Knoxville).

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The goals of RtP include cataloging and disseminating existing efforts of departmental transformation, supporting and disseminating the work of the other PULSE working groups and stakeholders, and encouraging departments across the country to engage in this challenging and important work. Over the past nine months, RtP has tapped into the resources of NSF/NIH/HHMI, the expertise of key contacts in national scientific organizations (e.g. AIBS, ASM, NRC, AAC&U-PKAL), the collective wisdom and experience of the 40 PULSE Leadership Fellows, and feedback from the broader PULSE community. Currently, RtP is preparing a Public Awareness Campaign related to PULSE and V&C. Important components of this effort will include the following. First, RtP will partner with AIBS to prepare and disseminate promotional materials related to PULSE. Second, RtP has adopted the Microsoft application Local Impact Map to geographically catalog national Vision and Change efforts and to help chart and archive the activities of the 40 PULSE Leadership Fellows. Third, RtP is creating new web and social media tools to help connect advanced practitioners (e.g., as identified by the Ambassadors Working Group) with departments who request expertise in implementing Vision and Change. One major emphasis in this area is the current development of a networking tool that we call ‘PULSEacademia’ based on the Macalister College Macademia platform. Fourth, RtP is developing new promotional materials related to V & C and PULSE efforts for use by the entire PULSE community at conferences and other venues. For instance, RtP is currently working on a video series that publicizes both the need for effecting change in life science departments and documenting the current efforts that have been effective in improving student engagement and retention in life science disciplines. Finally, RtP will promote V&C and PULSE activities and disseminate information about them to life science department leaders.

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 penetrance of our outreach efforts, for instance those related to the promotional videos, PULSEacademia, and PULSE Local Impact Maps will be gauged through several mechanisms. First, we will use Google Analytics to monitor web hits and record the geographical origin of the page views, as well as the institutional networks that are used to view these sites. This will allow us to assess the location and institutional types that are getting the message about PULSE and V&C. The results will be used to inform and improve how we inspire, motivate, and help the life science community implement V & C. Second, the outcomes of our work will be broadly disseminated to the PULSE Community and broader life sciences community through national organizations like AIBS. Finally, the RtP group receives regular feedback during presentations and workshops led by its members at national meetings (e.g., ABRCMS, SICB, Lilly Conference, ASB, ASM-CUE), gathering information on the impact of Vision and Change on departments, and taking a census of the needs of the Life Sciences community.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We anticipate that the PULSE Public Awareness Campaign will increase participation of faculty engaged in Vision and Change efforts and will also motivate departments to implement systemic change in biology education. A greater awareness of PULSE and Vision and Change will help catalyze systemic change in undergraduate Biology education throughout the country. Adoption of the Vision and Change principles will lead to increased student learning; an increased number of students that enter and are retained in undergraduate biology; increased retention rates for students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in biology; decreased time to graduation; increased retention of URMs in the life sciences; promote transfer of STEM students from 2-year Community College to 4-year baccalaureate degree programs; increased applications to graduate programs; increased diversity in the workforce. These systemic changes in biology education are necessary to provide the educated workforce that the United States will need to continue to be the world’s center of scientific innovation in the 21st century. The PULSE Public Awareness Campaign will also serve as a model for improving undergraduate education in other STEM disciplines.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: The PULSE Public Awareness Campaign is just getting ready to begin, so we have not identified any major challenges at the present time.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The PULSE Fellows conducted a webinar on their activities on June 4, 2013 (available at: https://mediasite.hhmi.org/MediaSite/Viewer/?peid=5e118f7d7f94449393f1279431cb32641d) and the fellows have presented their work at national and regional meetings of professional societies and institutional consortia.

Acknowledgements: The PULSE project has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

A Certification Program for Vision & Change Recommendations

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Title of Abstract: A Certification Program for Vision & Change Recommendations

Name of Author: Sandra Romano
Author Company or Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Author Title: A certification program for life science departments implementing V&C recommendations
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.)
Keywords: Certification, transformed department, rubrics

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): S. Romano, University of the Virgin Islands K. Aguirre, Coastal Carolina University T. Balser, University of Florida T. Jack, Dartmouth University K. Marley, Doane College K. Miller, Washington University in St. Louis M. Osgood, University of New Mexico P. Pape-Lindstrom, Everett Community College

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The 2011 report, “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action” recognized that a 21st century education requires changes to how the life sciences are taught, how academic departments support faculty, and how curricular decisions are made. The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE) was formed as a collaborative effort funded by NSF, NIH, and HHMI to foster department level changes recommended in the report. The PULSE project seeks systemic change at the departmental level and above, at all types of post-secondary educational institutions. PULSE Leadership Fellows were selected to develop initiatives that will catalyze this change. This group includes deans and chairs or former chairs of life science departments from research institutions, regional comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges and two-year community colleges. One of the efforts of the PULSE fellows is a certification program for departments that aspire to meet the Vision & Change goals of a transformed undergraduate experience in the life sciences. The certification program being developed will provide incentives and rewards for departments to adopt Vision & Change recommendations. The goal of this project is to help departments/institutions use existing and additional new assessment evidence to evaluate progress in departmental/institutional efforts to implement Vision and Change recommendations. This certification program will serve as both a self-assessment tool for departments to evaluate which V&C recommendations they are succeeding in implementing and which recommendations need further development.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Characteristics of departments transformed through adoption of V&C recommendations were collected from current literature, discussions in PULSE activities and on the PULSE website. These characteristics were used to develop a set of five rubrics to serve as the basis for the certification program. The Curriculum Rubric explicitly assesses the degree to which the V&C core concepts and competencies are integrated throughout the curriculum; the Faculty Practice and Student Engagement Rubric evaluates the level of student-centered pedagogy, exposure to inquiry in labs, access to authentic research for students and opportunity & diversity of development activities for faculty; the Assessment Rubric measures the correlation between student learning outcomes and assessments, degree of usage of pre & post assessments, utilization of common assessment tools, and information on program level assessment; the Infrastructure Rubric determines access to flexible reconfigurable teaching spaces, level of IT infrastructure, and access to well-designed laboratory space; the Climate for Change Rubric gauges the specificity and clarity of institutional and administrative vision, attitudes, effectiveness of communication and support for the development, enactment and maintenance of changes in institutional policies and practice. Each rubric includes a series of criteria to use to rate the level of implementation of the Vision & Change recommendations. The rubrics have been reviewed by the entire group of PULSE fellows and are being reviewed by the entire PULSE community. Feedback from these groups is being used to refine the rubrics. In addition, a detailed instruction manual is being developed to accompany the rubrics. It will include worksheets to be used in determining at what level the rubric criteria have been met. In addition, an appropriate regime of levels and weighting of the scores will also be developed.

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 certification program will be evaluated as part of larger PULSE efforts.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: It is anticipated that this certification program will facilitate broad national change in how undergraduate life sciences are taught. The fully developed certification program itself will provide clear standards for what a transformed department should be doing if it has fully implemented all V&C recommendations. The certification program will be nationally recognized, providing incentive for institutional support of transformation, similar to other certification programs such as those of the American Chemical Society, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Development of the certification program has not included any unexpected challenges. The pilot program is designed to help identify challenges and the review process will be used to meet those challenges.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: All aspects of the certification program will continue to be disseminated through the PULSE website. In addition, information on the development of the rubrics itself will be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal this Fall. Subsequent work on the certification program will also be written up for submission to peer-reviewed publications.

Acknowledgements: We gratefully acknowledge the PULSE community for their contributions to this effort. This work has been supported by funding from AAAS, NSF, NIH, and HHMI. In addition, the home institution of each of the PULSE fellows has provided support for work on this project.

Biochemistry Curriculum Initiatives at UVA

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Title of Abstract: Biochemistry Curriculum Initiatives at UVA

Name of Author: Linda Columbus
Author Company or Institution: University of Virginia
Author Title: Asst. Prof.
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biophysics
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Faculty Development, Upper Division Course(s)
Approaches: Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development
Keywords: Integrated, research-based, active learning, curriculum design, engaging the community

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): John Hawley, University of Virginia

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: The goal of our initiatives is to increase student learning through the design of an integrated and research-based curriculum and creating an institutional and national community of faculty.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: Student-centered learning. A research-based undergraduate biochemistry laboratory was designed. The students’ (85-90 per year) biochemically characterize a protein for which a 3D structure has been determined, but functional data is not reported. Effective teaching practices were introduced and learning materials were developed. Students use knowledge from this course and past courses to design and execute a functional assay of their protein. The year-long course concludes with student groups preparing a manuscript, and orally presenting a poster detailing their results. I developed an upper-level course “From Lab Bench to Medicine Cabinet” that utilizes the CREATE method to teach students how to read primary literature that highlights basic science contributions to therapeutic development. The students share and lead discussion using the steps of the CREATE method. The students write two research papers on a therapeutic and give two presentations. Campuswide commitment to change. I received a UVA grant to fund outside speakers to demonstrate the balance of teaching and research and the adoption of effective teaching practices (~80 UVA faculty). In addition, I have organized a group (20 faculty) in the college that focuses on increasing minority participation through the UVA LSAMP program. Engaging the biology community. I organized a workshop “Teaching Science Like We Do Science” at the annual Biophysics Society meeting (~50 participants/yr). I participate and help organize a New Faculty Workshop for Chemistry faculty that focuses on effective teaching practices and assessment (PI, Andrew Feig)

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: For the research-based laboratory course, a number of different assessments (SALG, learning gain focused grading rubrics, and pre- and post-testing) show that the students learning gains improved with the designed year-long undergraduate biochemistry laboratory. For the Lab Bench to Medicine Cabinet, I assess their learning through the development of their concept maps and the quality of their writing assignments and presentations

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Since the courses have been offered, ~360 students have participated. For the courses developed, the students perceive increased confidence and performance in biochemistry concept and performance, and in scientific literacy. Based on the course assessments, the students have achieved the learning goals that we have established. It is difficult to assess the impacts on the faculty and institutions that my efforts have had. Anecdotally, some faculty have engaged and come together with interest and determination to change their curriculum and methods. This year, our general chemistry laboratory has begun to implement active-learning modules. Our initiatives provided a ground-up approach by enabling the faculty to generate ideas and interests to match the administrations initiatives and funding for change.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Organizing a research-based laboratory for 85 students has come with many unanticipated difficulties. Training teaching assistants in active-learning instruction was a major challenge. In addition, detailed grading rubrics still remain a challenge in terms of reliable assessment of learning gains. Uninterested and unwillingness to accept or adopt change in the faculty is still a major challenge. In addition, convincing the faculty that quality teaching and research are not mutually exclusive is still a major challenge.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: In order to facilitate adoption of a similar curriculum by others, this course was intentionally designed to be highly modular. This modularity allows instructors to focus on standalone portions of the curriculum. Furthermore, widespread dissemination of the course material is enabled by a website (https://biochemlab.org).

Acknowledgements: NSF MCB 0845668, NSF DUE 1044858, and a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for the Advancement of Science.

Evolution across the Biology Curriculum at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

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Title of Abstract: Evolution across the Biology Curriculum at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

Name of Author: Kathryn Perez
Author Company or Institution: University of Wisconsin at La Crosse
Author Title: Assistant Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum
Approaches: Adding to the literature on how people learn, Assessment, Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Mixed Approach
Keywords: assessment, concept inventories, student-centered learning, learning modules

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Mike Abler, University of Wisconsin La Crosse Anita Baines, University of Wisconsin La Crosse Lee Baines, University of Wisconsin La Crosse Gretchen A. Gerrish, University of Wisconsin La Crosse Tisha King Heiden, University of Wisconsin La Crosse Anton Sanderfoot, University of Wisconsin La Crosse

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: Evolution is the unifying theme of biology. In response to the call for integrated evolution education in the Vision and Change document we sought to implement a concerted effort towards teaching evolutionary content across biology department’s core (required) curriculum. The members of the biology department at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (UWL) unanimously agreed that evolution should be a centralized theme across our biology curriculum. In 2011, a committee composed of individuals who teach in each core class in the biology department (the authors of this abstract) administered a survey to faculty and staff intended to determine in which classes critical evolutionary concepts were covered in our curriculum. This survey identified key evolutionary topics that receive little or no attention in our required curriculum (e.g., evo-devo, molecular evolution). Furthermore, evolutionary content was more apparent in introductory level courses, with limited reinforcement in advanced courses. In that same year, we also assessed our graduating seniors with a battery of assessment questions. This summative assessment of our curriculum revealed that our students fail to retain some key evolutionary concepts and retain some common evolution misconceptions.

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: To address this challenge, we set out to transform our coverage of evolution content. Our goal is to integrate evolutionary content in a systematic way across our core courses. This will emphasize the foundational nature of evolution to the study of biology and ensure that all biology majors are taught the key concepts in evolutionary biology. To ensure we were pursuing Vision & Change teaching method goals as well as content goals, the effort began with a workshop to ensure we were all trained in the development of student-centered content and valid assessments as well as common student misconceptions of evolution. At this same time, we developed evolution-learning objectives for each content module, class, and the entire biology curriculum. Using these learning objectives as our guide, we developed content modules for each core class (3-4 per class for 9 core classes) while meeting every two weeks to receive feedback and suggestions from the other members of the committee. Each module was designed to follow a student-centered learning cycle by beginning with student exploration followed by instructor content presentation and finally requiring the students to interact with data that reinforced the concepts and with each other via peer discussions.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: Our first test of these modules was carried out in the Fall semester 2012. In each core biology class, half the lecture sections were assigned to an experimental group that were taught the new evolution content modules, and half the sections provided control groups that received our typical instruction. To assess the efficacy of these new evolution modules in each class, we developed pre and post assessments, composed of isomorphic multiple-choice items, which targeted the learning objectives of that class. These were administered to both control and experimental groups so that we obtained pre/post as well as experimental/control data. A portion of the assessment given to the students in introductory biology included questions identical to those given to the graduating seniors, to allow a ‘pre/post’ assessment of the entire biology curriculum. All the assessments contained a mix of items from pre-existing evolution concept inventories and new questions written by the committee if concept inventories did not exist for the targeted concept. These studies were all approved by the UWL IRB and informed consent was obtained from all participating students.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: We have observed several unanticipated benefits of this effort. Over the course of this entire project, we have worked towards the education of our fellow faculty on evolution content by developing an evolution glossary so we are all using terms similarly and by constant discussion of the new content modules. The result is that most biology faculty have been incorporating additional evolution content in their courses. This could be the result of increased awareness of evolution teaching and their increased knowledge about these ideas. In this way, evolution content is moving beyond the core classes into all the courses offered by the biology department. The integration of evolution content across the core classes has engaged the biology faculty in discussions about how to assess learning across the curriculum, what core student gains are essential, and has reinvigorated the debate of breadth vs. depth in curriculum planning. There is also heightened awareness among department members of the use of student-centered teaching materials and techniques. This effort has spawned additional departmental efforts to integrate other Vision and Change content objectives across the core classes, such as quantitative and reasoning skills. In these ways and others, we are seeking to improve the quality of biology education at our institution.

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Following the initial testing semester, analysis of these modules in the core classes revealed mixed results. Some modules performed as desired and resulted in significant student learning gains both in the post compared to pre assessment and in the experimental group when compared to the control. These modules have been made available to the faculty who teach each core class for incorporation into their classes. A few modules did not perform as desired and were redesigned before undergoing another trial semester (Spring 2013). At this time, we also examined the new assessment items we had developed, as some of these had not been previously tested. We examined each item for difficulty and discrimination as well as the percentage of students choosing each distractor. Several of these assessment items also required revision. The final trial of these assessment items is also underway. Following these final performance tests, successful modules and assessments will be distributed to the faculty of the department. Pre/post curriculum testing will continue on a smaller number (~100) of students in introductory biology and graduating seniors for the next 4-5 years to gather data on the effect of an integrated approach to teaching evolution on several cohorts of students.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: The project will be presented as an example of integrated assessment to the UWL College of Science and Allied Health at the Fall meeting of the college. We will present our results at the UWL and UW System teaching and learning conferences. In addition the results will be presented at the Society for Biology Education Research and Evolution meetings.

Acknowledgements: The project was funded by a UW System Curriculum Improvement Grant. We used some materials from the Michigan State University Evo-Ed project. Some assessments used materials in press by the EvoCI Toolkit Working group funded by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. The entire UWL Biology department, particularly the department chair, David Howard, has been very supportive of this process.