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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
  • Gordon E Uno
  • (405) 325-6281
  • Tamar L Goulet
  • Davida Smyth
  • Heather Rissler
Award Date:07/16/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 836,111
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 836,111
  • FY 2021=$836,111
Start Date:10/01/2021
End Date:09/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Vision and Change in Undergraduate General Education Biology Courses
Federal Award ID Number:2126154
DUNS ID:848348348
Parent DUNS ID:046862181
Program Officer:
  • Virginia Carter
  • (703) 292-4651

Awardee Location

Street:201 Stephenson Parkway
Awardee Cong. District:04

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Street:660 Parrinton Oval
Cong. District:04

Abstract at Time of Award

The COVID-19 crisis, and the often contradictory and misleading science-related information distributed during the pandemic, demonstrates the need for the general public to understand basic biological concepts, how science is conducted, and in what ways science is relevant and important to their lives. A decade ago, the seminal publication, “Vision and Change: A Call to Action” (AAAS, 2011), articulated that undergraduate biology education in the United States needed to undergo a substantial overhaul to improve the quality of undergraduate biology education for all students. Yet, it is unclear just how deeply Vision and Change permeated the undergraduate biology community and what its national impact has been on education reform across institutions and types of courses. One area that is substantially underdeveloped is General Education Biology courses, those that are referred to as the ‘non-majors’ courses. Students who are not science majors, but who pass through introductory-level life science courses as part of their undergraduate experience, constitute a huge percentage of the future general public. These students, and the faculty that facilitate their learning, will be the focus of this project. These non-majors courses may be the only exposure to biology and biologists that many undergraduate students will have. This project will leverage the national effort, Improvement of General Education Life Science courses (IGELS), that was organized in late 2020. IGELS is comprised of multiple scientists and science educators who teach in, conduct research about, and/or provide professional development for General Education Life Science (GELS) instructors. The IGELS Steering Committee proposes to: 1) survey current instructors of GELS courses across the U.S. to determine the level of their knowledge and implementation of the V&C principles; 2) use the collected information to create a BioLifeSkills guide that can serve as a framework for course revision and a template for tailored professional development and mentoring activities for GELS faculty that reflect relevant aspects of V&C; 3) expand the activities of the national IGELS network, a coalition of individuals and groups to discuss and resolve issues related to GELS courses and to assist faculty teaching GELS courses; and 4) modify useful existing curricular resources and developing a framework of core skills and essential concepts for GELS students to promote scientific literacy. This project will impact several hundred instructors of introductory general education biology courses and thousands of students, however, the groundwork for building sustained professional development, producing a useful curriculum framework, and facilitating future collaborations will greatly multiply the number of those who benefit. IGELS will use its connections with a diverse community of faculty to identify the best ways to promote evidence-based teaching and learning methods for GELS courses that form an infrastructure of equity and inclusion. IGELS work will focus on exemplary programs that improve the relevance of course materials, increase student interest and retention, and promote metacognitive strategies for all students to improve self-efficacy and learning. For GELS students with an interest in science and biology but, for whatever reason, have not chosen biology as a major, this project also may help them find their sole introduction to biology as a first step in an alternative path into STEM-related careers. This project is funded by the Program Description 21-7412, Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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