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AIBS Education Report, Volume 1, Issue 1, July 2004

  • Teaching Biology with Bioinformatics: The BioQUEST Approach
  • Nationally Recognized Educators to Participate in Evolution Symposium
  • Keep Track of State News on Teaching Evolution
  • Organization for Tropical Studies: Fostering Diversity in the Sciences Symposium
  • American Society for Photobiology Seeks Partner in Digital Project
  • Call for Presentations: 48th Annual Meeting of the Association of College and University Biology Educators (ACUBE)

TEACHING BIOLOGY WITH BIOINFORMATICS: THE BIOQUEST APPROACH

The July 2004 “Eye on Education” column in BioScience focuses on the use of bioinformatics in the undergraduate classroom. Two faculty members were interviewed to learn how they have engaged students in investigating real biological data. These faculty are part of the larger BioQUEST's BEDROCK virtual community which has developed a growing set of innovative bioinformatics teaching resources. Read more about this project "Eye on Education" column (http://www.aibs.org/eye-on-education).

BioQUEST’s BEDROCK program is just one of many which provides inspiration, workshops, and resources for faculty, both experienced and new. Other projects include:
- Biocomplexity: integrates multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving in college biology.
- LifeLines OnLine: focuses on biology using investigative cases in two year colleges.
- Computational Tools & Resources for Biology Educators: part of a partnership for advanced computational infrastructure.
- Microbes Count! a multimedia resource manual/CD to accompany the video series Unseen Life on Earth, ASM.
- BIRDD Project - provides a wide range of data relating to the Galapagos and Darwin's finches accessible for students who are investigating evolution.

For more information about all of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium’s projects, visit their website at http://www.bioquest.org.


NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED PANELISTS TO PARTICIPATE IN AIBS/BSCS/NABT EVOLUTION SYMPOSIUM

Twenty-two educators will serve as panelists during the AIBS/BSCS/NABT Evolution Symposium in November. AIBS partnered with two of its member organizations, the Biological Sciences and Curriculum Study (BSCS) and the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), to organize this two-day event. The Symposium will take place 12-13 November 2004 during NABT’s annual convention (http://www.nabt.org/sub/convention/2004_convention.asp).

Participants attending this special event, Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation (http://www.aibs.org/special-symposia/), will hear updates in the science and gain new insights into how evolutionary science contributes to our society. The panelists will play a key role in translating the scientific presentations into useable tools and resources for the teacher participants. Each panel will be moderated by a member of the AIBS Education Committee and a complete list of the panelists is provided below.

Panel 1. Teaching the scientific and philosophical foundation of evolution.

- Gordon Uno, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (moderator)
- Brian Alters, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Barbara Forrest, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA
- Eugenie Scott, National Center for Science Education, Oakland, CA

Panel 2. Teaching the Tree of Life

- Christopher Haufler, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (moderator)
- Rodger Bybee, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Colorado Springs, CO
- Lawrence C. Scharmann, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
- Mark Terry, Northwest School, Seattle, WA
- Sam Donovan, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Panel 3. Teaching the mechanisms of evolution

- John Jungck, Beloit College, Beloit, WI (moderator)
- Ethel Stanley, Beloit College, Beloit, WI
- Judy Diamond, University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, NE
- Stacey Kiser, Lane Community College, Eugene, OR

Panel 4. Teaching evolution's importance for public health

- Lori Zaikowski, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY (moderator)
- Bruce Fuchs, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
- Randolph M. Nesse, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
- Margaret (Betsy) Ott, Tyler Junior College, Tyler, TX

Panel 5. Teaching evolution's importance for society

- M. Patricia Morse, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (moderator)
- Jay B. Labov, National Research Council, Washington, DC
- Judy Scotchmoor, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, CA
- Anastasia Thanukos, LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, NY
- Steve Rissing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH


KEEP TRACK OF STATE NEWS ON TEACHING EVOLUTION

The federal education law, No Child Left Behind, requires states establish standards for student assessment. As a consequence, states across the country are working to develop K-12 science standards and model curricula that will ensure students meet these standards. This process has seemingly reinvigorated a host of organizations that oppose the inclusion of evolution in public school curricula or advocate for the inclusion of "alternative theories" ranging from young-Earth creationism to intelligent design.

The AIBS Public Policy Office works with various national and state organizations to monitor and report on state and local threats to the teaching of evolution in public school science courses. The AIBS Public Policy Office reports on these threats through its bi-weekly public policy report and provides information and resources on the Policy Issues Related to Teaching Evolution portion of the AIBS website (http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/teaching_evolution.html). To help scientists and science educators better track current and historic challenges to evolution, past public policy report items on evolution education are organized by state and date.

Additionally, AIBS has prepared a brief fact sheet (http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/resources/teaching-evolution-0407.pdf 86k pdf) summarizing recent developments in 17 different states. The document does not include all state and local threats to science education. The fact sheet simply provides a brief overview of some note worthy developments.

ORGANIZATION FOR TROPICAL STUDIES: FOSTERING DIVERSITY IN THE SCIENCES SYMPOSIUM

Increasing participation of underrepresented groups in the environmental and biological sciences is the theme for an upcoming symposium presented by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). The symposium, entitled “Fostering a Diverse Scientific Community: Developing Strategies for Identifying, Recruiting and Retaining Minorities in the Environmental and Biological Sciences, is scheduled for 12-13 August 2004 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Panel discussions are organized around three topics: identification, recruitment and retention of minorities at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.

The symposium will feature oral and poster presentations by alumni of the OTS Minority Scholars Program and participants of the Research Experience for Faculty at Minority-Serving Institutions Program (REF). A component of the Symposium is a reception at the Embassy of Costa Rica the evening of 12 August. Ambassador Jaime Daremblum will welcome guests to the event. The guest speaker for the reception is Dr. Thomas Brady of the University of Texas at El Paso.

Dr. Dorceta Taylor, Director of the Minority Environmental Leadership Development Program (MELDI) at the University of Michigan, will deliver the keynote address for the symposium. Panelists for the symposium include internationally recognized scholars who will present perspectives on the topics. Dr. Don Wilson (Smithsonian Institution), Chair of the OTS Board of Directors will officiate the proceedings. According to Dr. Donald E. Stone, Interim CEO for OTS and Chair Emeritus of Botany at Duke University, “It is vital that we address the absence of human diversity in the environmental and biological sciences in order to ensure that we encourage the best and the brightest to become the next generation of professionals. This groundbreaking symposium will bring together experts from a variety of disciplines to present ideas, share success stories, and document the most successful ways to identify, recruit, and train underrepresented groups.”

The OTS is a nonprofit consortium of more than 60 universities and research institutions from the United States, Costa Rica, Perú, México, South Africa and Australia. OTS was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide leadership in education, research and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. Historically, OTS has operated in Costa Rica where it maintains three biological field stations, facilitates research advancing the world’s knowledge of tropical ecosystems and the impact of changes in tropical ecosystems on the global environment. OTS now offers numerous courses in Latin America and South Africa for graduate and undergraduate students.

For more information, contact Gwendolyn Wright, Director, Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations, Organization for Tropical Studies, 919-684-5774, gwright@duke.edu, http://www.ots.duke.edu/en/symposium/.


AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PHOTOBIOLOGY SEEKS PARTNER IN DIGITAL PROJECT

With grant support from FIPSE of the US Department of Education, the American Society for Photobiology (ASP) is developing a new web-based educational tool in photobiology called the Digital Photobiology Compendium (DPC). The DPC provides learning modules, complete with interactive graphics and even virtual laboratory experiments in all areas of photobiology. Instructors can select just those modules that are applicable to their courses, assemble them into a sequence, called a Work, and then assign that Work to their students by a name that they pick.

Development of the modules has involved photobiologists worldwide. There are currently about 40 modules in place and about 20-25 in development. Upon completion, ownership of the DPC will be transferred to the American Society for Photobiology and the European Society for Photobiology.

We are planning a dissemination proposal to develop similar Digital Compendia in other fields of science. A pre-proposal, submitted last fall, was among the 10% successful applications. However, we elected to delay submission of a full proposal for a year to better develop our plan. We have several societies as partners already, including the American Society of Plant Biologists and the International Society for Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence.

We have room for one more society, but we need that society to be identified by the end of August. If interested, please contact Dennis Valenzeno, Director, WWAMI Biomedical Program, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508-8100; Phone 907-786-4789; Fax 907-786-4700; E-mail dvalenze@kumc.edu.


CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: 48th ANNUAL MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY BIOLOGY EDUCATORS (ACUBE)

If you are looking for opportunities to learn or present new teaching ideas, curriculum reforms, innovative uses of technology, or any other aspect of biology education, then register as a participant at the upcoming annual Association of College and University Biology Educators (ACUBE) meeting. The 2004 meeting will be held at Wabash College, Indiana, on 14-16 October. Presentations, workshops, and posters are welcome and abstracts are due 1 August 2004.

The ACUBE membership is committed to improving education in the biological sciences at the university and other levels of educational experience. The Association is a low cost organization that provides opportunities for faculty to discuss new ideas and accomplishments in biology education through its annual meeting and its publication of the journal Bioscene.

The theme of the 2004 annual meeting is: Technology in Biology Education. Although presentations on any topic in biology education are welcome, examples of technology oriented presentations include scientific technology, databases, bioinformatics, gear technology, innovative uses of the Web, drop boxes, on-line posters, personal response systems, simulations, and impacts of classroom technology on student learning.

Wabash College is located in Crawfordsville on the banks of Sugar Creek in West Central Indiana. Crawfordsville has been identified as one of the Top 100 Best Small Towns in America. The meeting will include field trips to crinoid beds and relic hemlock forest. Participants may wish to also attend the renowned Covered Bridge Festival of Parke County, Indiana, immediately after the conference.

Registration costs for the annual meeting are $100 for members, $130 for non-members, and $55 for students and K-12 teachers. Information on registration, submission of abstracts, lodging, contact information, and the preliminary program is available at www.acube.org.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. Founded in 1947 as a part of the National Academy of Sciences, AIBS became an independent, member-governed organization in the 1950s. Today, with headquarters in Washington, DC, and a staff of approximately 50, AIBS is sustained by a robust membership of some 5,000 biologists and 200 professional societies and scientific organizations; the combined individual membership of the latter exceeds 250,000. AIBS advances its mission through coalition activities in research, education, and public policy; publishing the peer-reviewed journal BioScience and the education website ActionBioscience.org; providing scientific peer review and advisory services to government agencies and other clients; convening meetings; and managing scientific programs. Website: www.aibs.org.


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