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Education Report for September/October 2009

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.

Live Webcast of "Evolution in Extreme Environments" Symposium

Anyone unable to attend this year’s National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference in Denver can still participate in the fifth annual evolution symposium, cosponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). Educators and students are encouraged to tune in to the live webcast on Friday, November 13th, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, MST, to watch all or part of the symposium. Take advantage of this opportunity to hear internationally renowned researchers discuss their fascinating, cutting-edge work in “extreme” evolutionary biology. Speakers will talk about how life evolves, adapts, and flourishes in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, such as at high altitude, in the deep sea, under arctic ice, and in caves. Viewers, including students in classrooms all over the world, will be able to submit questions online and have the speakers respond in real time. For full program information, including speaker names, talk titles and times, and the link to view the live webcast, please visit www.nescent.org/NABT09Webcast.php or contact eog@nescent.org.

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ActionBioscience.org User Survey Now Online and Hispanic ActionBioscience.org Website Launched

Is the information on ActionBioscience.org of value to you? What do you prefer to read, teach, or study? How can we better meet your needs? Please tell us by participating in our visitor survey. An extended questionnaire is available for educators who want to help us develop resources that benefit both student learning and professional development. Visit www.actionbioscience.org/2009-survey.html.

AIBS has launched a Hispanic mirror site of its award-winning education website at ActionBioscience.org/esp/. The Spanish-language site makes the scientific articles and interviews of ActionBioscience.org accessible to Spanish speakers worldwide, so that they can more readily grasp the content in their native tongue. AIBS is pleased to provide this option and increase access to stories about current issues in biology. A survey is available at ActionBioscience.org to help gauge visitor response to the new Hispanic mirror site and its features. Users can access the survey from the home page, or go directly to www.actionbioscience.org/esp/encuesta.html.

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Science Zine-a-thon Contest

Biology educators and their students are invited to participate in the Year of Science (YoS) 2009 Science Zine-a-thon Contest. A science zine (pronounced “zeen”) is a mini-magazine that is eight pages long and can fit in the palm of your hand. Choose a science topic from one of the YoS themes and create a zine on that topic using a single, specially folded sheet of 8½ x 11-inch paper. Prizes will be awarded to noteworthy zines, and all submissions must be postmarked by November 15, 2009, to qualify. To get the full details about the contest and the prizes, go to www.yearofscience2009.org/about/zine-contest.html.

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New NABT Outreach Coordinator and Informal Educator Member Section

Every year, thousands of students and teachers benefit from unique learning opportunities designed by “teachers without classrooms.” To better serve this community of biology teachers, NABT has created its new Outreach Coordinator and Informal Educator Member Section. The NABT Professional Development Conference is also presenting a special afternoon session to address the unique challenges posed by non-classroom settings. At the session, National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) program officers will highlight funding opportunities, details on obtaining funding will be discussed in informal breakout sessions, and a special section business meeting will be held. This session takes place on Wednesday, November 11th, from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm. Please visit www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=534 for more information.

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American Journal of Botany Publishes Articles on Advancing Scientific Literacy

The Botanical Society of America (BSA) will make a series of papers available for free in the October issue of the American Journal of Botany. The papers are based on a symposium, held during BSA’s 2008 annual meeting, about scientific literacy and advancing public understanding and awareness of science. At the symposium, Marshall Sundberg discussed the PlantingScience initiative developed by the BSA (www.plantingscience.org); Gordon Uno showed how developing botanical literacy among our students can contribute to scientific literacy; Judith Scotchmoor illustrated how she and her colleagues have developed educational outreach and resources for helping teachers teach the process of science to their students; and Matthew Nisbet and Dietram Scheufele each discussed different aspects of science communication and the public. The papers based on these presentations, along with an introduction by Christopher Haufler and Marshall Sundberg, are currently available online in the AJB Advance Access at http://www.amjbot.org/papbyrecent.dtl.

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Conference Mobilizes Transformation of Undergraduate Biology Education

Over 500 faculty members, education administrators, and policymakers assembled in Washington, DC, in July for a three-day Vision and Change (V&C) conference sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The aim of the conference was move the conversation about reforming undergraduate biology education forward. The V&C conference website, www.visionandchange.org, includes resources from the conference; a link to the Facebook page; updates on current funding opportunities from NSF, NIH, and HHMI; as well as reports from previous meetings that informed the July conversation. As the second step in a four-part process (conversations, conference, report, and implementation), the conference’s purpose was to crystallize initiatives, define roles, and determine partnerships as the community collectively works toward a vision for undergraduate biology education that will be disseminated and implemented. The outcomes of the working groups (listed on the website) will next be synthesized into a report, which is due out in February 2010. Read more about the conference at www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/0821biology_conference.shtml.

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Institute for Evaluating Effectiveness of Student Interventions

Faculty members who are interested in expanding the scope of research into improving student success in science, and in applying that knowledge to conduct their own studies of student success, should consider applying to attend the ASM/NIGMS Institute for Evaluating Effectiveness of Student Interventions. The institute will take place January 11-14, 2010, in Washington, DC, and is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH. Participants will learn how to design behavioral and social science research projects to evaluate current and planned programs to improve learning and advancement in science. For further details, including eligibility requirements and institute agenda, visit www.facultyprograms.org/page04a.shtml or contact facultyprograms@asmusa.org. Space is limited, and the deadline is October 15, 2009.

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Incorporating Bioinformatics Research in Undergraduate Education

Educators interested in introducing bioinformatics into their curriculum are encouraged to apply for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE-JGI)’s Bioinformatics Institute. The institute, taking place March 10-13, 2010, in Washington DC, will help faculty develop interdisciplinary classroom activities and research projects for undergraduate students using bioinformatics technology. Participants will learn to use, and to effectively teach students to use, molecular sequence information to solve problems and to understand the underpinnings of protein analysis, comparative genomics, and evolutionary analysis. Participants will also connect with other faculty who are using bioinformatics in their classrooms. For complete details and eligibility requirements, visit www.facultyprograms.org/page02a.shtml or contact facultyprograms@asmusa.org for more information. Deadline for applications is November 15, 2009.

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Project Kaleidoscope Announces New Director

On September 8th, the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) announced that Susan Elrod will be their new director, effective January 2010. Elrod was the director of the Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education at California Polytechnic State University and is involved in multiple science education reform efforts, including the development of conceptual assessment tools and science outreach initiatives. Jeanne Narum, the retiring director, will stay on and continue to be a part of AAC&U and PKAL activities. There will be opportunities to discuss the future of PKAL during the AAC&U annual meeting in January 2010. To read the full announcement, visit www.aacu.org/pressroom/pressreleases/2009/pkaldirector.cfm.

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New in BioScience: "What Are Undergraduates Doing at Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories?"

In the September issue of BioScience, Janet Hodder describes the results of a survey on undergraduate opportunities at biological field stations and marine laboratories. Hodder shares the data from 88 sites, including the types of opportunities for students, the challenges different sites face, and the diversity in courses, and discusses the significance that such experiences have for undergraduates themselves. “Biological field stations and marine laboratories (FSMLs) serve as places to study the natural environment in a variety of ways….More than half of the FSMLs that responded to an informal survey indicated an increase in their undergraduate enrollment in the past 10 years.” To read the complete article, go to http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/abs/10.1525/bio.2009.59.8.8.

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Upcoming Conferences, Events, and Workshops

June 2009-May 2010—BSCS Science Institutes, Colorado Springs, CO, and online. The Biological Sciences Curriculum Study is offering six week-long, inquiry-based science institutes starting in June for elementary and secondary science teachers. Institute topics include “Scientific Inquiry,” “Literacy and Science,” and “Content Deepening Series for Elementary Teachers.” All institutes will immerse participants in both indoor and outdoor activities, and the learning experience continues past the end of the face-to-face institute. Each participant will have online access to a continuing education program and support during the school year, which will provide opportunities to reflect with other participants on the integration of the institute content and approaches and review student work, practices, and interactions. For details about the institutes’ topics and dates, please visit www.bscs.org/si or contact Sam Spiegel (sspiegel@bscs.org).

October 8-10, 2009—ACUBE’s 53rd Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO. The Association of College and University Biology Educators annual meeting will take place at Rockhurst University. The meeting provides an opportunity for those who teach biology at the undergraduate and graduate levels to share ideas and best practices through presentations, workshops, and informal networking. Details will soon be available at www.acube.org.

October 15-18, 2009—SACNAS National Conference, Improving the Human Condition: Challenges for Interdisciplinary Science, Dallas, TX. The 36th annual Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science conference will offer participants the opportunity to “explore how new and original research across disciplines advances our knowledge in all aspects of the human condition and provides solutions to problems and limitations impacting human potential.” Go to www.sacnas.org/confnew/confclient for further details.

October 22-25, 2009—ISSOTL 2009, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. Registration is now open for the sixth annual conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. The conference theme is “Solid Foundations, Emerging Knowledge, Shared Futures.” For full conference details, visit http://issotl09.indiana.edu/.

November 11-14, 2009—National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference, Denver, CO. Join others who teach biology in middle and high school and at two- and four-year institutions for NABT’s 2009 Professional Development Conference. In addition to the many concurrent sessions, workshops, plenaries, and social events, AIBS and NESCent will once again cosponsor a symposium on evolution. More information is available at www.nabt2009.org.

March 20-24, 2010—National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Philadelphia, PA. The theme of the 2010 annual international conference of NARST is “Research into Practice: Practice Informing Research” and will be held at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott. For details, visit http://www.narst.org/annualconference/2010conference.cfm.

June 14-17, 2010—Biology Scholars Transitions Residency. The Transitions Residency, planned for 2010, seeks biologists who are transitioning from science education research to science education publishing. The 2010 Transitions Residency begins with the Transitions: Science Education Research to Publishing Institute, planned for June 14-17, in Washington, DC. Application deadline is February 1, 2010. For complete details, background information, and staff contacts, visit www.biologyscholars.org.

July 14-17, 2010—Biology Scholars Research Residency—application deadline March 1, 2010. The Research Residency seeks biologists who are asking questions about the effectiveness of their teaching approaches. The 2010 Research Residency begins with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Institute, planned for July 14-17, in Washington, DC. For complete details, background information, and staff contacts, visit www.biologyscholars.org.

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