MORSE, M. P.; University of Washington, Seattle: A Model for Undergraduate Biology Education Scholarship

Numerous faculty members at universities and colleges have an abiding interest to improve biology learning for all undergraduates. Due to attention to research scholarship, maintaining active research laboratories and a general lack of time few of these faculty members are familiar with contemporary scholarship in biology education. It is fairly clear in our minds what constitutes good scholarship in research; it is less clear in our minds (or many of those responsible for tenure votes in departments and in colleges) what constitutes good scholarship in teaching biology – although we seem to intuitively “know it when we see it!” Often we are so busy keeping up with the changing landscapes in our research sub-disciplines that we find it nearly impossible to do the same in our teaching responsibilities. A recent focus group of a dozen biologists, mostly from the Washington area, and biology educators met at the Friday Harbor Laboratories and addressed this problem. Members formed a collaborative with the goal to produce a paper reflecting a weaving together of contemporary perspectives in biology and education as witnessed by good practices in the various faculty members classrooms and laboratories. The joint-authored paper will be prepared, edited and submitted for publication. It is proposed that such a "focus-group model" might be used in biology societies, college and university departments, and special research symposia presentations to better integrate research and education for dissemination by digital libraries or scholarly science education journals to biology faculty for implementation into biology classrooms.