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Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action

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This is the final report of a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science with support from the National Science Foundation in an effort to show how the undergraduate biology education system needs to be improved:

Given the radical changes in the nature of the science of biology and what we have learned about effective ways to teach, this is an opportune time to address the biology we teach so that it better represents the biology we do. The goal of this conference is to mobilize people to focus on undergraduate biology education by engaging them in shared, directed, provocative, and ongoing discussions that lead to action in the immediate future. Participants will include innovators and leaders in biology research and education and representatives of professional societies, funding agencies, and research and educational centers. Together, we will develop a blueprint for change in biology education and, critically, an action plan.

The conference will serve as a catalyst for ongoing, shared activities and will highlight new and existing resources for effecting change. Working sessions during the conference will include articulating key concepts and competencies and how they are best assessed; student – centered learning including how students learn and appropriate pedagogy; the role of scientific research in the curriculum; implementing and evaluating educational innovations; expanding the toolkit of approaches to teaching for both current and future faculty; and changing institutional cultures to overcome barriers and create incentives for innovation.

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Atteh Akoto

University of Pittsburgh