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AIBS Education Report, Volume 2, Issue 2, March/April

  • ActionBioscience.org and the Biological Science Education Portal, BEN
  • Call for Collaborators: Study the Effectiveness of TIEE
  • Animal Behavior Society's Children's Book Award
  • NAS President Issues Letter in Support of Evolution Education
  • Carnegie Foundation Perspectives
  • Call for Reviewers: New Documentary Film on Ernst Haeckel
  • New Deadline for NSF Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Program
  • Upcoming Conferences

The AIBS Education Report is distributed broadly by email six times a year to AIBS membership leaders and contacts, including the President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Director, AIBS Council Representative, Journal Editor, Newsletter Editor, Public Policy Committee Chair, Public Policy Representative, and Education Committee Chair of all AIBS member societies and organizations (see the Member Society and Organization Directory section of www.aibs.org for contact information).

All material from these reports may be reproduced or forwarded. Please mention AIBS as the source; office staff appreciates receiving copies of materials used. If you would like to share information about your organization's education initiatives with the AIBS community, please contact the AIBS Education and Outreach Program Manager, Susan Musante (smus...@aibs.org; 202-628-1500 x 249). Any interested party may self-subscribe to receive these free reports by email. Go to www.aibs.org and click on EDUCATION REPORTS on the opening page, then follow the text links to complete the subscription form. The News & Publications section of the AIBS website also contains back issues of these reports.

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ACTIONBIOSCIENCE.ORG AND THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE EDUCATION PORTAL, BEN

The articles and lessons found on the AIBS's ActionBioscience.org website are now part of the searchable collection of biology teaching resources at the BiosciEdNet.org (BEN) portal. The BEN portal is managed by AAAS and provides access to collections of teaching resources developed by a number of scientific professional societies including the Ecological Society of America, American Society of Microbiology, and Botanical Society of America. ActionBioscience.org's growing collection of issues-based articles by distinguished scientists, educators, and other writers on a wide range of biological subjects, with links to additional resources, encourages students and teachers to learn more and get involved in the issue. All articles are peer reviewed, many of them are accompanied by lesson plans written by professional educators, and about one-third are translated into Spanish. Visit the BEN Portal at www.biosciednet.org.

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CALL FOR COLLABORATORS: STUDY THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TIEE

Join a team of researchers to learn more about the effectiveness of teaching resources on student learning. Teaching Issues & Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) is supported by an NSF grant and has been published online by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) for two years. Numerous indicators suggest it is widely used and valued by ecology faculty; however, it would be helpful to understand how well TIEE works in a range of settings. To that end, TIEE is seeking ecology faculty to collaborate on a study to learn more about the effectiveness of TIEE in classrooms. The study is supported by a supplement to the original NSF grant.

Some ecologists are surprised to learn that faculty can study their own teaching. Seventy-five years ago John Dewey, an innovator of progressive education, complained about the separation of education research and the disciplines being studied, saying that good teaching depends on "direct participation of those directly involved in the research." Faculty members who choose to help evaluate TIEE will learn about and receive mentoring on basic tools for classroom evaluation and research. They will work with other ecology faculty as part of a research team, beginning with a workshop at the 2005 ESA meeting, to identify common goals and outcomes and to plan the study. They will then use some of the TIEE resources in one course during the 2005-2006 academic year and study its effects on student learning, communicating with each other electronically throughout the year.

The team will share their findings in a poster session at the 2006 ESA annual meeting and contribute to the collective wisdom about inquiry-based, active ecology teaching. For their efforts, participants' registration and workshop fees will be paid for the 2005 ESA meeting in Montreal, and they will receive an honorarium upon completion of the project. For more information about this study plus an application form go to tiee.ecoed.net/teach/study.html. Successful applicants must be familiar with TIEE and experienced with some aspect of student-active teaching. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2005.

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ANIMAL BEHAVIOR SOCIETY'S CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD

Did Where the Wild Things Are inspire you to become a field biologist? Can you trace your interest in environmental issues back to when you first read The Lorax? As professional biologists, we may forget the impact that children's books have in our field. Therefore, the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) would like help in publicizing a new award program: the Children's Book Award. The award recognizes books aimed at children in grades 3-5 (approximately 9-11 years old) that provide accurate and compelling stories about animal behavior. Reviewers from the education committee and children from appropriate classrooms contribute to the judging, and an award recipient is selected from three to five finalists. Details about the process, names of previous award recipients, and reviews of finalists for the last three years can be found at www.animalbehavior.org/ABS/Education/BookAward/.

We are seeking help publicizing this resource to teachers at all levels and across disciplines. If you can help, or would like more information, please contact Penny Bernstein, chair of the ABS education committee, at pbernstein@stark.kent.edu.

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NAS PRESIDENT ISSUES LETTER IN SUPPORT OF EVOLUTION EDUCATION

Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academies of Science (NAS), has issued a letter asking research scientists to provide support to educators and communities facing threats to the teaching of evolution. The letter, found at www.nas.edu/nas/evolution0305, tells the NAS community about recent developments, including articles and op-ed pieces in popular publications, and explains why the challenges to the theory of evolution should be a concern to non-biological scientists, too. A link to this letter and more resources on the issue are on the AIBS Policy Issues Related to Teaching Evolution section of the AIBS website: www.aibs.org/public-policy/teaching_evolution.html.

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CARNEGIE FOUNDATION PERSPECTIVES

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching produces a monthly commentary, Carnegie Perspectives, which focuses on current issues in education. The goal of this commentary is to present different ways to think about emerging educational issues. The current column addresses the challenges faculty face in "measuring changes in learning over time" and previous one discusses the issue of gender and success in science. You can find the current and previous columns online at www.carnegiefoundation.org/perspectives/index.htm.

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CALL FOR REVIEWERS: NEW DOCUMENTARY FILM ON ERNST HAECKEL

An innovative documentary film is now available for academic conferences and for review. First Run/Icarus Films is seeking qualified reviewers, based in North America, to review Proteus: A Nineteenth Century Vision. The film is about biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). One of the most influential minds of the 19th century, Haeckel found himself torn between science and art, materialism and religion, rationality and passion. For Haeckel, the key to integrating these dualities was a tiny undersea organism called the radiolarian. Haeckel discovered, classified, and painted 4000 species of these one-celled creatures. Their beauty and seemingly infinite variety led him to a sweeping vision of nature as an unfolding work of art and source of scientific knowledge. Based almost entirely on 19th century scientific illustrations, paintings, and photographs brought to life through innovative animation, Proteus weaves a complex tapestry of biology, evolutionary theory, oceanography, scientific history, poetry, and myth. Read a full description at www.frif.com/new2004/pro.html.

To inquire about reviewing the film, contact Dylan M. McGinty, Director of Operations, First Run/Icarus Films, Inc., 32 Court Street, 21st Floor, Brooklyn NY 11201; phone (718) 488-8900 or (800) 876-1710; or send an email: dylan@frif.com.

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NEW DEADLINE FOR NSF COURSE, CURRICULUM, AND LABORATORY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

The new deadline for NSF's CCLI program is May 17th for Phase I projects (most of the awards will be in this category) and mid-January 2006 for Phase II and III projects (larger-scale projects involving a mix of development and assessment or dissemination, with fewer awards made). Phase I projects can request up to $150,000 and can include instrumentation. Phase II projects can request up to $500,000, and Phase III up to $2 million, though they will make only one to four Phase III awards. There is no longer a cost-sharing requirement. There is no limit on the number of proposals an institution can submit, though a person can only be the PI on one proposal per round of competition (even this is flexible--someone can be a co-PI on multiple proposals). For more information, go to the program announcement: www.nsf.gov/pubs/2005/nsf05559/nsf05559.htm.

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UPCOMING CONFERENCES

· AWIS National Conference on Women in Science and Engineering
An AWIS conference on Women in Science and Engineering is being planned for June 23-24, 2005, at Smith College in Northampton, MA. The purpose is to assess the progress made on the seven recommendations from the 1995 NSF Conference on Women in Science, to discuss the data presented and select the most important barriers that remain to the success of women in their STEM careers, and to make recommendations for a research agenda for the next decade. Topics will be useful for corporate managers and academic administrators, STEM researchers, faculty, graduate students, and those interested in helping women scientists and engineers achieve full potential in their careers. Speakers will include Shirley Jackson, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Rita Colwell, former Director of the National Science Foundation. Information is available at www.awis.org/june2k5reg.html.

· Gordon Science Education and Policy Conferences
Dates and other information for the 2005 Gordon Science Education and Policy Conferences have been announced. You can find the information at www.grc.uri.edu/05sched.htm#SCIEDU.

· Lilly North Call for Proposals
You are invited to participate in the 5th Annual Lilly North Conference on Teaching and Learning. The theme for this year's conference is Teaching So Everyone Learns. The conference will be held at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, MI, September 16-17, 2005. We encourage you to share your knowledge about the best methods to help our diverse students learn and the best strategies for us to learn from our own teaching. Let us know what has worked in your own classrooms, campuses, and disciplines to encourage students to take an active part in their own education. Please contact Regina Mitchell, by email regina.l.mitchell@cmich.edu or phone (989) 774-3024, if you have any questions. More information can be found on the conference website: www.facit.cmich.edu/lilly.

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- Sign up for AIBS email education updates at www.aibs.org/mailing-lists.

- Biological literacy for all: read www.ActionBioscience.org online free, in English and Spanish.

- National Ecological Observatory Network updates, www.neoninc.org.

- National Evolutionary Synthesis Center updates, www.nescent.org

- K-12 institutional subscriptions to BioScience for only $55/yr; personal subscriptions for $20 - $70/yr; see www.aibs.org/bioscience/subscription_rates.html.

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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