Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Undergraduate Science Education Program
at the University of Delaware

Faculty Teaching Fellows

The four-year, $1.2M grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to the University of Delaware for undergraduate science education focuses on and is entitled "Stimulating Attitudes of Inquiry." This theme comes from a quotation from James Bryant Conant, distinguished chemist, educational scholar, college administrator, government advisor, statesman, and author.

"When does a scientist become a scientist? It is not when a person knows many facts and even understands in depth some aspect of the natural world. I would suggest the transition occurs when curiosity about a phenomenon leads to an inquiry for new knowledge. This can occur in a person with little or lots of knowledge about a subject. It is an attitude of inquiry."

The grant promotes attitudes of inquiry through its funding of approximately 20 undergraduate research students each year, providing support for under-represented minorities in the sciences (NUCLEUS), promoting quantitative approaches to biology with new curricula and new courses, funding undergraduate peer tutors for science courses that use problem-based learning, and by promoting active-learning strategies in the classroom.

A major focus of the current grant is to develop an integrated introductory course that features active-learning practices and adresses the growing importance of chemistry in biology. This effort will involve developing investigative laboratories for majors in the life sciences who would normally be taking BISC-207 and CHEM-103 concurrently in their first semester. These courses and laboratories will be designed to take advantage of the modern features that are part of the new Integrated Science and Engineering Building under construction.

Who is eligible? Due to the emphasis on the integration of biology and chemistry of the current HHMI grant, teaching faculty primarily in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry are eligible for up to $5000 summer stipend to work on course and curriculum projects related to the integration of introductory biology and chemistry. These awards are renewable.

HHMI Faculty Teaching Fellows will be encouraged to promote and participate in inter- and intra-institutional dissemination of innovative teaching and learning strategies. Some matching funds for travel to science education meetings are available. Fellows will be expected to  help sponsor and host visiting science education scholars who present their work in regularly scheduled departmental seminar series.

Last updated 1 November 2010
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