Institute for Integrative Genome Biology

Improving Undergraduate Biology Instruction

Susan R. Wessler, an IIGB/CEPCEB/CDVR distinguished professor of genetics has teamed up with John Matsui at UC Berkeley, Joel Rothman at UC Santa Barbara and Paul Koch at UC Santa Cruz to develop an interconnected “Faculty Learning Community” to allow faculty at four campuses to share proven, successful methods that improve undergraduate biology instruction.

Titled “Building a Faculty Learning Community that Spans the University of California,” the project has just received funding of $50,000 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support activities planned for the first year of the three-year project.

Sadly, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college intending to major in a science, technology engineering and technology (STEM) field complete a STEM degree. Equally discouraging is that women and underrepresented minorities – about 70 percent of college students – receive only 45 percent of STEM degrees.But if STEM majors could be increased from 40 percent to just 50 percent, it has potential to generate about 750,000 additional STEM degrees needed to meet the workforce demands over the next decade.

The Faculty Learning Community is designed to help each participating university to enhance its teaching approach and learning outcomes. It will disseminate best practices in science teaching and assessment, and provide a venue for launching new projects and programs. In annual meetings that will rotate among the four campuses, UC biology instructors – faculty, postdocs and graduate students – will discuss a number of topics, including how best to share information on facilitating change in teaching and how to implement effective strategies for involving students in research. The project also has a strong evaluation component: Evaluators will measure the change in faculty learning pre- and post-training.

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More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director