ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Needs improvement

Research universities lack creativity when it comes to training the next generation of biologists

Harvey Black(hblack@chorus.net)

The nation's powerhouse research universities are still getting failing marks in teaching undergraduate biology, concluded attendees at a workshop held August 16–19 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UWM). The 37 workshop participants came primarily from those very Research I universities (national leaders in federal support for science research), including University of North Carolina, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ohio State, Penn State, Cornell, and the University of Michigan.

"One of the concerns is we're not teaching conceptual thinking. We, as a profession, tend to emphasize the individual facts and factoids and not the overriding concepts that bridge ideas in science," said speaker Jo Handelsman, a UWM professor of plant pathology. Handelsman is one of 20 recipients of $1-million Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grants for improving undergraduate classroom instruction. Recipients were picked for both their research prowess and their ability to develop innovative ways of teaching.

Discussions about improving undergraduate...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT