Florida International University (FIU) is an urban, doctoral-granting institution located in Miami, Florida's largest population center. FIU, with its current enrollment of over 70% underrepresented minority students (URMS), has a mission which includes "Health" as a primary strategic theme, and has a vested interest in ensuring that its undergraduate students are provided with the best possible foundational education in the biological sciences. FIU, a MARC U*STAR institution, submits its proposal to implement an innovative and strategically developed plan to quantify biology in the classroom (the Q'BIC Plan). Q'BIC is an integrated lock-step cohort program (a Block Program) which for the short term is being offered as a Quantitative Biology Track, with long-term intentions of being the format for our biology curriculum. Courses in the block have identified and coordinated areas of overlapping synergy. Groups of 25 students take these courses together and work within an integrated, conceptual framework. Teaching units within courses use active and cooperative learning techniques and problem based-learning concepts. The program integrates mathematics, statistics and computing such that data generated in the biology labs are used to teach statistical concepts and biological processes are used to illustrate mathematical techniques. Thus, Q'BIC scholars are able to see how mathematics can model biological processes. This connection is emphasized in the teachable units and shows how sound biological theories are generated. Q'BIC allows the teaching of mathematics and statistics from the perspective of interpreting experimental and observational measurements, motivates students to learn statistics and teaches them how to be scientists. Q'BIC is organized in two parts: Part 1 begins in the freshman year and continues through the sophomore year;Part 2 covers the junior and senior years. This block program has synchrony and is sequential. Q'BIC includes a capstone summer workshop following Part 1, which concentrates on modeling and simulation. Part 2 offers tailored upper level courses and encourages scholars to participate in funded research programs. Q'BIC has a well-developed formative and summative evaluation and assessment component that effectively and efficiently measures whether the objectives of the program are being met and, most importantly, measures whether Q'BIC scholars are actually learning. The overall goal of the Q'BIC Plan is that students finishing the program will have the skills needed to move fluidly among conceptual, analytical and quantitative approaches to solving biological problems, ultimately increasing the number of URMS who enter and complete biomedical graduate programs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
MARC Ancillary Training Activities (Grant) (NIGMS) (T36)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-MARC-0 (CD))
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Sesma, Michael A
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Florida International University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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