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Education Report for March/April 2010

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.

Professional Development Webinars for Biology Educators

How do you incorporate cyberlearning into biology courses? How can you really know that students are understanding natural selection? To find out, participate an upcoming webinar in the monthly series offered by AIBS, National Association of Biology Teachers, University of California Museum of Paleontology, and the RCN-UBE Introductory Biology Project to support undergraduate educators teaching introductory biology. Each webinar offers information about a teaching resource or pedagogical technique and provides the opportunity to interact with resource providers and your colleagues about successful teaching strategies. After the April webinar on cyberlearning, the May webinar will introduce you to the use of the conceptual inventory in natural selection. Visit www.aibs.org/events/webinar to read the full descriptions and register.

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New in ActionBioscience.org

There are two new articles in ActionBioscience.org:

  • Biofuel, Economics, and Society. Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, associate professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics of the University of Tennessee and associate director of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, explains in an interview that not only can good agriculture practices provide economical, environmentally friendly fuel, they can also decrease world poverty and food insecurity. www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/ugarte.html

  • Beetle Devastates Yellowstone Whitebark Pine Forests. Jesse A. Logan, formerly of the US Forest Service, and William W. MacFarlane provide evidence that the warming climate has made conditions suitable for massive outbreaks of mountain pine beetles. They use the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as an example to illustrate how the beetle is destroying whitebark pine forests in this iconic region. www.actionbioscience.org/environment/loganmacfarlane.html

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NABT Professional Development Conference Opportunities

Registration for the 2010 National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference is now open. It will take place in Minneapolis, MN, from November 3rd through 6th. The early-bird registration rate deadline is May 31st. Go to www.NABT2010.org for complete details. There are two opportunities for four-year college educators:

  • Call for Four-Year Poster Session Proposals: Deadline July 15, 2010. The Four-Year College & University Section of NABT invites you and your students to present research and exercises on teaching and learning biology at the NABT Undergraduate Education Poster Session. This event will take place at the 2010 Professional Development Conference, and posters can present the incorporation of new teaching strategies, techniques, or programs. www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=577

  • Call for Proposals for NABT Research Symposium: Deadline May 31, 2010. The NABT Four-Year University & College Section’s Ad-hoc Research Committee invites you to submit a proposal to present your research paper on biology education for the 2010 Professional Development Conference (November 4, 2010). www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=502

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New in BioScience

“Phenology and Citizen Science” Amy Mayer, a freelance writer, describes how volunteers have documented seasonal events for more than a century and how scientific studies are benefiting from the data. http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/full/10.1525/bio.2010.60.3.3

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The Latest "Evolution in the News" from NESCent and Understanding Evolution: "Speciation in Real Time"

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent, www.nescent.org) and the Understanding Evolution (www.understandingevolution.org) project have teamed up to develop monthly “Evolution in the News” stories and podcasts. These resources are designed to be used by educators who are interested in helping students make connections between evolution and their own lives. To access the latest podcast on speciation along with the link to the full story, background literature, and classroom resources, go to www.nescent.org/eog/Podcasts/Feb2010podcast.php.

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New Name for CCLI: Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES)

The NSF DUE’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program has been renamed Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES). The new solicitation is at www.nsf.gov/publications/pubsumm.jsp?WT.zpimsid=5741&odskey=nsf10544. According to a news release, “the title of the program was changed in order to emphasize the special interest in projects that have the potential to transform undergraduate STEM education. The additional review criteria have been modified to emphasize the desire for projects that (1) propose materials, processes, or models that have the potential to enhance student learning and to be adapted easily by other sites, and (2) involve a significant effort to facilitate adaptation at other sites.” For more information, go to the program website, www.nsf.gov/funding/pgmsumm.jsp?pimsid=5741&org=NSF&sel_org=NSF&from=fund.

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"Vision & Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action" Now Available

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) published an executive summary of the recommendations and action items that emerged from the July 2009 conference titled “Transforming Undergraduate Education in Biology: Mobilizing the Community for Change,” hosted by AAAS and supported by NSF. A link to the report is on the conference website, www.visionandchange.org, or available directly as a PDF by going to www.visionandchange.org/VC_report.pdf. The report includes a description of the process leading up to the report, a list of generally agreed upon core concepts and competencies, strategies for change, and a list of next steps.

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Empowering You to Empower Others: Strategies for Underrepresented Minority Scientists

The SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute is for underrepresented minority scientists interested in amplifying their leadership skills. Developed in collaboration with AAAS, the institute is an intensive five-day course featuring small group exercises, keynote speakers, leadership development planning, networking opportunities, and extensive community building among selected participants. The institute will take place July 19 to 23, 2010, at AAAS in Washington, DC. The application deadline is April 15, 2010. Go to www.sacnas.org/leadershipSummer.cfm for complete details, or contact Tanya Beat at tanya@sacnas.org or 831-459-0170 ext 241.

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Beyond Bio2010: Celebration and Opportunities

The Beyond BIO2010: Celebration and Opportunities conference will take place from May 21st through 22nd at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. John Jungck, chair of the Society for Mathematical Biology’s Education Committee and a professor at Beloit College, and Holly Gaff, chair of the SIGMAA Bio section of the Mathematics Association of American and an assistant professor at Old Dominion University, are the conference organizers. According to the website, “This conference will celebrate significant progress made by the mutual effort of biologists and mathematicians in the development of new curricular materials, majors, collaborative research initiatives, national institutes, professional development workshops, journals, national science digital libraries, awards, etc.” Visit the website to learn more and register: http://bioquest.org/beyondbio2010/.

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Participate in the ABLE 2010 Conference

The Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE) is having its 2010 conference in Nova Scotia, Canada. ABLE’s mission is to improve “the undergraduate biology laboratory experience by promoting the development and dissemination of interesting, innovative, and reliable laboratory exercises.” The conference program will include mini-workshops, field trips, and a poster session. To participate in the poster session, submit an abstract by April 2nd. For complete details, go to www.ableweb.org/conf/able2010/index.htm.

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