Undergraduate Education Program

Grant Abstracts 2017

California State University, Monterey Bay

Nathaniel Jue
Monterey Bay, CA
$300,000
June 2017

Recent disruptive innovations in DNA sequencing technology and the advent of “Big Data” science have significantly changed the skills necessary to work professionally within the field of biology.  This requires changing undergraduate education and training to incorporate genomics and bioinformatics.  California State University, Monterey Bay will scaffold bioinformatics and genomics across the biology curriculum to promote specialization and mastery in the skills and concepts related to them.  They propose to: (1) integrate genomic modules and course-based research experiences into all course levels, ranging from a genomics-focused first-year seminar and core lower-division biology courses to senior capstone research courses and (2) develop and implement a new genomics and bioinformatics concentration within the bachelor’s degree in biology.  In the first year, course-based research experience modules will be developed for six courses with two being taught and assessed, and a new biology concentration in bioinformatics and genomics will be submitted for university approval.  In the second year, four modules developed in the previous year will be taught and assessed, and seven modules and a new first-year seminar will be developed.  In the third year, the remaining modules will be taught and assessed, and four modules and a new first-year seminar will be developed, taught and assessed.  This work will provide the basis for a broader model in higher education on how to integrate genomics and bioinformatics into a traditional biology curriculum.

George Fox University

Robert Harder
Newberg, OR
$150,000
June 2017

George Fox University’s College of Engineering is centered on humanitarian design.  Its undergraduate students are passionate about building state-of-the-art devices that address important societal needs in safety, health, and poverty.  To meet the needs of a rapidly growing enrollment, engineering faculty have built a collaborative design-build environment called the Engineering Innovation Center.  In this new space, they plan to grow student expertise in electromechanical systems, affording them the opportunity to create prototypes using versatile, high-strength materials with embedded circuits.  These devices are known as molded interconnect devices.  Molded interconnect devices integrate conductive pathways directly onto a 3D substrate without the need for a large 2D printed circuit board.  Traditional methods of creating molded interconnect devices require expensive injection molding equipment that is not suitable for rapid prototyping or small-scale production.  With the machines requested, students will have the opportunity to build devices that can have significant humanitarian impacts in the digital world.

National Center for Science and Civic Engagement

Eliza Reilly
Stony Brook, NY
$300,000
June 2017

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) will establish and advance robust partnerships between indigenous populations and local formal and informal educators to improve educational outcomes for all students, promote cultural understanding, and foster long-term collaborations on issues of common concern.  The project will extend the successful Hawai’i NCSCE strategy to Alaska and four new state pilot projects.  Over the three-year project, 75 formal educators and administrators will partner with 37 native community leaders and 120 informal educators to host a series of meetings to deepen collaborations and embed programs.  Local environmental and health issues will provide context for inquiry-based learning that transcends perceived conflicts between local tradition and scientific ways of thinking.  NCSCE will leverage its national community of transformation to support professional development for lasting institutional change and community partnerships.  The partnerships will be developed specifically to last beyond the project period as a necessary, mutually beneficial collaboration for the success of all students, health of the community, and care of the shared environment.

Pacific University

David DeMoss
Forest Grove, OR
$200,000
June 2017

The School of Arts and Humanities (SAH) at Pacific University seeks to expand undergraduate research in the arts and humanities.  The goal is to provide all arts and humanities students with faculty-mentored research opportunities that encourage higher levels of thinking and creativity.  The objectives are: (a) all SAH students will have an opportunity to develop and deepen their research skills as SAH departments (working individually and collaboratively) use backwards design to integrate research into every level of the curriculum; (b) SAH students will further pursue their research in conjunction with faculty in a focused, interdisciplinary summer institute; and, (c) SAH students will have opportunities to disseminate the outcomes of their research through a newsletter, a peer-reviewed online, multimodal SAH undergraduate journal, and presentations at national and international conferences.  Leadership teams, consisting each year of one member from each SAH department, will guide progress for the year, oversee the integration of undergraduate research in the curriculum, assess progress towards outcomes and track student/faculty perceptions and attitudes during each stage of the project.

Portland State University

Zhiqiang Chen
Portland, OR
$300,000
June 2017

Portland State University plans to develop an online electron microscopy platform that will offer nanoscience education to undergraduates via virtual instrument simulators.  The platform will serve as a national model for undergraduate education programs with complex scientific instruments by improving and expanding research and technical training.  This project will complete the ongoing development of a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) simulator in the platform, carry out an education assessment to compare the costs and learning outcomes for using on-site, hands-on TEM versus the TEM simulator, and disseminate the simulator via existing education courses and programs by offering the platform to undergraduate students from any university.  The project is bridging a gap between existing virtual products too narrowly focused to meet the needs of undergraduate education. It launches effective instrument-based education infrastructure to a broader audience without the need for large capital instrument investments, particularly for undergraduate students with limited resources to attain desired learning outcomes.

Westmont College

Eileen McQuade, Michael Everest
Santa Barbara, CA
$225,000
June 2017

Westmont College seeks to develop its biology and chemistry students into practicing scientists, by developing their skills of independent scientific inquiry and fostering curiosity and collaboration.  Each year, approximately 350 students are enrolled in biology or chemistry lab courses and 45-50 graduate with degrees in those majors.  While the departments have a strong tradition of faculty-student collaborative research, this is often limited to a selective group of upper-division students.  Westmont proposes to increase student exposure to real science practice throughout the curriculum in order to develop the scientific habits necessary for success in the professional world.  The plan is to: (1) revamp the curriculum to incorporate more inquiry-based lab exercises that require students to think and act like professional scientists; (2) increase the rigor of the statistics and analysis our students do in laboratories; (3) improve and maintain laboratory instrumentation to ensure students gain independence and competence with the latest technology; and, (4) restructure a senior capstone course to center around a student-hosted research seminar series.  By expanding inquiry-based research throughout the curriculum, the project will teach students how to ask good questions and gain the competence and confidence to use the scientific process to seek answers.

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