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Fostering Undergraduate Scientists through Inquiry and Research in Biology

iological Sciences (61) The Department of Biology is instituting process-driven education, producing graduates who understand scientific fundamentals and can also function as scientists. Specifically, the project is optimizing integration throughout the curriculum via environmentally oriented, pedagogical themes and cross-disciplinary biological concepts. The project is also developing new investigative laboratory experiences and expanding opportunities for independent scholarly activities for undergraduates. In particular, through a curricular-wide revision of the biology programs, research activities are being incorporated at each stage of the students' development. A pedagogical philosophy conceived and developed by the BSCS and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has been adapted by focusing on two educational themes. First, Science as a Process, and second, Environmental Resources as Tools for Teaching Principles and Concepts. Guided by these themes, we are using four cross-disciplinary concepts: Biophysics (form and function), Self (homeostasis and energetics), Lineage (evolution and genetic continuity), and Interactions (inter-organismal and environmental associations) to integrate the curriculum. The model for implementing inquiry-based laboratory activities is the Science Cornerstones Project initiated by Portland State University. Students are developing general cognitive skills (query development, data analysis, problem solving) at the same time they master curricular-wide concepts and course-specific techniques. Additionally, student-faculty research groups are being created that correspond to both centers of investigation and areas of concentration within the revised curriculum. Each group consists of faculty mentors and students, from freshmen through seniors. These groups meet weekly to discuss independent projects conducted by juniors and seniors in the group. Under-class students are taking part in these discussions and serve as field/lab technicians. Upper-class students are presenting the results of their independent research projects to the University community. Assessment of project success and national dissemination of student projects via presentations and publications are being funded by the University.

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The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate
up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.