CONFERENCE: QUBES preaches to the choir at the Society for Mathematical Biology in Atlanta, GA
John Jungck, Director of the Interdisciplinary Science Learning Center at the University of Delaware and long-time advocate for mathematical biology education, was a plenary speaker at SMB 2015. He brought his typical humanity and empathy to bear on the current challenges and opportunities associated with mathbio education. Particularly inspiring was his emphatic stance that mathematics is a human right - to deny any student access to mathematics education is to deny them the ability to operate fully in the world. Taking that view certainly makes it hard to accept the status quo of low course pass rates and low graduation rates for STEM courses and majors as "inevitable" or the product of students who are somehow inadequate.
In total there were five education sessions, an education plenary, and an education travel award (SMB 2015 Program). The mailing list for the SMB education group grew by three pages. We are excited about the momentum behind mathematical biology education!
Carrie Diaz Eaton and Jeremy Wojdak from QUBES also presented at the SMB conference. Carrie presented the history of QUBES, and highlighted features of QUBESHub of interest to the SMB community. Jeremy tried to squeeze two talks into one: First, he described an approach to motivate student interest in math/stat modeling with fascinating images and videos, in the context of authentic research, open-inquiry, image analysis lab activities. Second, he described the QUBES Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN) concept and highlighted some upcoming networks (e.g. need to better manage workflow with undergraduate mathbio research groups? ). FMN's bring together faculty who want to try some new approaches in their classrooms with those faculty that already have experience and expertise with those approaches.
On Twitter, @QUBESHub and @mathprofcarrie were active in reporting #SMB2015. QUBES also started a hashtag #facesofbiomath as an opportunity to show current young faculty showcasing their research.
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