Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
- Fisk University
Co-Author(s): Steven Damo and Phyllis Freeman, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
This Targeted Infusion Project at Fisk University seeks to incorporate quantitative biology methods and embed authentic research into lecture and laboratory components of cognate and upper division life science courses. In this post-genomic era it is clear that a strong quantitative skill set is a prerequisite for biology majors. Informed by Vision and Change, and other national initiatives and reports, we have committed to curricular innovation that leverages the recommended best practices obtained from research on teaching and learning. We are implementing a three objective plan to innovate the curriculum and pedagogies employed in order to better prepare students in the life sciences for an increasingly multidisciplinary research landscape: 1) develop an introductory physics for life sciences course which strikes an appropriate balance between physics core concepts and life science applications, 2) create a biophysical chemistry course that focuses on the structure, thermodynamics, and kinetics of biological macromolecules, and 3) develop modules for upper level biology courses that reinforce the connections between life and physical sciences. Together, the objectives will provide a strong foundation in core scientific skills, particularly quantitative skills such as computation, modeling, problem solving, and data analysis. This interdisciplinary approach will synergize with several ongoing initiatives at Fisk University and have a transformative effect on student training for careers in STEM disciplines. Seven undergraduate students have participated in this project during the first grant year, developing new labs for the introductory physics courses, as well as working on projects for the biophysical chemistry course. The introductory Physics for Life Sciences course has been approved by the University and is being offered for the 2017-2018 academic year. The first semester of the course and its associated laboratories will be offered in the Fall semester, the second semester and associated labs will be taught in the Spring. The Biophysical Chemistry course is under development and is on schedule to be offered in the Spring semester of the 2017-2018 academic year. Modules for upper level biology courses are being developed and will be phased in beginning Fall 2017.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation, HBCU-UP TIP Award 1623280
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,