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Education Report for September/October 2006

The AIBS Education Office provides analysis and communication for the AIBS Board, Headquarters Office, and Education Committee on issues of import to the AIBS membership and the larger scientific community. Reports are broadly disseminated by email every few months to AIBS membership leaders and contacts. Special reports are sent more frequently as needed. We have archived these reports here for your information and attention. Read about each report's contents below, then click to read the complete text.

2006 AIBS/BSCS/NESCent Evolution Symposium Update

The program has been finalized for the 2006 symposium, "Macroevolution: Evolution above the Species Level," cosponsored by AIBS, the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). The speakers are David Jablonski, University of Chicago; Jeffrey S. Levinton, State University of New York at Stony Brook; Nicole King, University of California, Berkeley; Philip Gingerich, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Scott Hodges, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Nipam Patel, University of California, Berkeley. The symposium will take place on Saturday, October 14th, during the National Association of Biology Teachers annual conference. Although advanced registration is now closed, those interested in participating can register on-site for this event. For complete program details, visit www.aibs.org/special-symposia/2006_macroevolution.html.

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2007 AIBS Annual Meeting Announced: Evolutionary Biology and Human Health

The 2007 AIBS annual meeting will be held May 14th and 15th in Washington, DC, on the theme of "Evolutionary Biology and Human Health," at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Online registration is now open. Go to the meeting website to register or submit a poster abstract: http://www.aibs.org/annual-meeting/annual_meeting_2007.html. The program chair is 2007 AIBS President Douglas Futuyma, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Plenary speakers and discussion groups will approach the meeting's topic from a variety of cross-cutting themes involving science, education, and public policy. Session topics include infectious diseases, genes and genomics, and human adaptation and malfunction. The rest of the meeting's program will be rounded out by events such as a contributed poster session, a diversity lunch, and AIBS awards. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Natural Science Collections Alliance and will be followed by the meeting of the AIBS Council of member societies and organizations, May 15 and 16.

Speakers include:
• Eric Green, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
• Edward Holmes, Department of Biology, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
• Rustom Antia, Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
• Carlos Bustamante, Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
• Sarah Tishkoff, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
• Martin Nowak, Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
• Randolph Nesse, Evolution and Human Adaptation Program, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

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AIBS Diversity Scholars Announced

AIBS is proud to recognize four outstanding students as Diversity Scholars for 2006. The AIBS Diversity Scholars program recognizes outstanding biology students from underrepresented minorities, as well as students with disabilities. Each will receive a $1000 travel award to present research at a scientific meeting of his/her choice, complementary travel and registration to the 2007 AIBS Annual Meeting “Evolutionary Biology and Human Health,” and a one-year complementary membership to AIBS. This year’s scholars are
• Andrea Rivera, University of Hawaii at Manoa, who will present her research on coral reef ecology at the Humboldt Current System International Conference.
• Christopher Himes, University of Washington, Seattle, who will present his research on mammalian population diversity at the Society for the Study of Evolution annual meeting.
• Daniel Howard, University of Tulsa, who will present his research on landscape effects on prairie mole crickets at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.
• Tsitsi McPherson, University of Connecticut, who will present her research on tropical forest conservation at the Society for Conservation Biology annual meeting.

For more information on the AIBS Diversity Scholars Program, and for application information for 2007, please visit www.aibs.org/diversity/diversity_scholars_program.html.

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Improving Evolution Education

In July of 2006 nearly 30 national leaders and experts on various aspects of evolution education came to the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) to spend two days identifying the major challenges and needs in the field. Discussions covered a variety of topics including promoting best practices, accessibility to resources, and linking teachers with recent science. One of the outcomes of this meeting is a proposal for a working group to address specific ways to improve the teaching of evolution at the undergraduate level. For more information on the meeting, visit the NESCent website at www.nescent.org/calendar/calendar_more.php?id=23, or contact NESCent’s Education and Outreach Group at eog@nescent.org.

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NESCent Evolution Database for Minority Institutions

John Clamp is a biology professor at North Carolina Central University, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Durham, NC. He spent the last year as a sabbatical scholar at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), where one of his projects focused on attracting minority graduate applicants into careers in evolutionary biology.

Clamp recognized that, historically, one of the barriers to increased minority student participation in graduate programs and research opportunities in evolutionary biology has been difficulty accessing a comprehensive database of all of the colleges, universities, and research centers that offer such programs. Similarly, research and graduate institutions interested in targeting minority students for graduate programs have often struggled to identify appropriate contacts at institutions and departments with significant populations of underrepresented minority students.

To address these challenges, Clamp generated comprehensive databases that contain these two bodies of information. These databases are available on the NESCent EOG website for both graduate programs seeking students and students looking for graduate programs. These databases are expected to lead to increased awareness of programs and information flow, with the ultimate goal of increasing minority representation in evolutionary biology.

The databases can be accessed by clicking on http://eog.nescent.org/Databases.htm. For more information on the databases or Education and Outreach Activities at NESCent, visit the website at http://eog.nescent.org or email eog@nescent.org.

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Call for BEN Scholar Applications

The inaugural BEN Scholars Institute will be held at the American Society for Microbiology on December 7 to 10, 2006. The deadline for applications is October 22, 2006. BEN, or BiosciEdNet, is a web portal that provides access to a wealth of biology education resources. These resources are published by cooperating professional scientific societies and education organizations that are each responsible for their individual content. BEN allows educators to search by type of resource and subject to find materials such as articles, lessons, images, and databases that meet their teaching needs. AAAS manages the BEN collaborative. The call for BEN Scholars has been posted on the BEN portal site: www.biosciednet.org/portal/scholarApp.php. Up to 20 scholars will be part of this initial cohort.

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Herpetology Hotline

Thanks to a group effort by the three North American societies for professional herpetologists (the Herpetologists' League, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, and the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists), the Herpetology Hotline is now available to the general public. The Herpetology Hotline allows anyone to submit a question, by means of a web-based form, about the biology of amphibians or reptiles. Once submitted, the question is routed to one of several members of the sponsoring societies who are especially knowledgeable on that particular taxon (e.g., salamanders, frogs, turtles, etc.) or topic (e.g., physiology, behavior, evolution, etc.). A "library" of questions is being saved such that an FAQ page can also be linked to this forum. Individuals interested in submitting a question to the Herpetology Hotline should direct their web browser to the following URL:
www.peabody.yale.edu/collections/vz/herpform.html.

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National Study to Focus on Use of Digital Libraries

What kinds of content and services are higher education faculty and other potential users looking for from digital libraries? How would users like to interact with the content in digital libraries, and what do they see as barriers to using digital libraries and their content? Based on feedback from focus groups around the country, researchers have compiled a report (http://serc.carleton.edu/files/facultypart/mcmartin_etal_2006_jdcl.pdf) and developed a survey that should take instructors approximately 15 minutes to complete. The survey will be offered to community and technical colleges, four-year colleges, and master's and doctoral universities, public and private, to gather information that will be sorted by institution classification, instructor rank, and discipline. Researchers would like to have a broad range of institutions included in the study. Participating institutions will receive the answers of their respondents. Analysis of the aggregated data will also be shared with the community and beyond. Please visit http://serc.carleton.edu/facultypart/ to find out more, or contact Alan Wolf (alanwolf@wisc.edu) for more information about the study.

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Student Fellowship and Scholarship Opportunities

The American Society for Engineering Education facilitates a number of fellowships and scholarships for students. They include the following:
• The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides students with three years of financial support including a $30,000 annual stipend and $10,500 cost-of-education allowance. US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents at or near the beginning of research-based graduate studies in the chemistry, computer and information science and engineering, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, psychology, and social sciences fields are eligible to apply. For additional information and deadlines, please go to www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/.
• The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program (NDSEG), sponsored by the Department of Defense, is intended for US citizens at or near the beginning of their graduate studies in science and/or engineering programs. The fellowships are for three year tenures and provide an annual stipend of over $30,000. Full tuition and fees and a health insurance allowance are included as part of the program. For additional information, please go to www.asee.org/ndseg.
• The Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Education Program is a Department of Defense program open to undergraduate and graduate students studying in the science, mathematics and engineering fields. It provides an annual salary, full tuition, and other normal educational expenses. Applicants must be US citizens and at least 18 years of age. There is an employment obligation to Department of Defense with this education program. For additional information, please go to www.asee.org/smart.
• The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is open to US citizens and legal permanent residents and offers a competitive stipend as well as insurance, relocation, and travel allowances. This program offers one to three year postdoctoral fellowships designed to increase the involvement of scientists and engineers in scientific and technical areas of interest and relevance to the Navy. For additional information, please go to www.asee.org/nrl.
• The Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP) is a 10-week summer research program that enables students to perform research at a participating Department of Navy laboratory. Juniors, seniors and graduate students are eligible to apply. Some labs require US citizenship while others accept permanent residents. The program provides a stipend of $5,500 for undergraduate students and $6,500 for graduate students. For additional information, please go to www.asee.org/nreip.

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Upcoming Conferences

National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference. October 11-14, 2006. Albuquerque, NM.
AIBS is cosponsoring a symposium on evolution education at the 2006 conference, titled "Macroevolution: Evolution above the Species Level." The symposium will take place on Saturday, October 14th, during the NABT conference and is cosponsored by BSCS and NESCent. For more information about the symposium, visit www.aibs.org/special-symposia/2006_macroevolution.html. To learn more about the NABT conference, go to www.nabt2006.org.

ACUBE’s 50th Annual Meeting: The Revolution and Evolution of Biology Education. October 26-28, 2006. Millikin University, Decatur, IL.
The Association of College and University Biology Educators (ACUBE) is having its 50th annual meeting in October. This year, organizers invite ACUBE members who attend other education meetings (such as NABT, NSTA, ABLE, or HAPS), or who are involved in education activities at professional organizations (such as ASM, BSA, or APS), to represent their group in the poster/exhibitor sessions. For more information, visit http://acube.org/50thannual/.

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