The Interdisciplinary Quantitative Bioscience (IQB) Program at UMBC will respond to the challenges described in the National Research Council report, Bio 2010: Undergraduate Education to Prepare Biomedical Research Scientists. The IQB Program is the product of an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary faculty effort involving support from Phase I MARC Curricular Improvement funds, which included a regional symposium at UMBC, and the MAS'Winter Institute on course development. The IQB Program builds on core strengths of faculty from the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, Information Systems, Physics, and Biological Sciences. This initiative takes a multi-prong approach to ensure undergraduates, especially students from underrepresented groups in the sciences, value the application of mathematics and statistics, physics and information systems to biological problems. UMBC will create intensive learning environments by employing interdepartmental teams of faculty and teaching assistants. Honors designation will be added to new key courses required for the biological sciences major and a Certificate in Quantitative Biosciences will be established with a progressive series of related course work. The initiative begins with summer seminars at UMBC by exciting guest speakers who use quantitative sciences in their research to inspire participants in the eight-week Meyerhoff Scholarship Summer Bridge Program and summer undergraduate researchers from UMBC and beyond. A one-credit fall seminar course will use guest lecturers to enthuse undergraduates, especially first-year students, about the power of quantitative biosciences. A linked six-credit BIOL 100 Laboratory course with Statistics 350 will incorporate data analysis and model building. Students will benefit from designated two-credit laboratory courses that explore and build mathematical models in genetics (BIOL 312HL) and cell biology (BIOL 313HL). New four-credit basic physics courses, PHYS 111 and 112, will incorporate biological applications for biology majors. A Perl programming course (Information Systems) and a new Introduction to Biophysics (Physics) provided through other funding will add breadth to available course work. A 400-level course developed by a new biology faculty hire will provide a related upper-level elective in the quantitative biosciences. The IQB Program will institutionalize the integration of quantitative sciences into the biological sciences at UMBC. Students who complete the Quantitative Biosciences certificate will be more competitive for acceptance into many Ph.D. programs, and all students will benefit from exposure to seminars and individual courses demonstrating the value of mathematical tools in the biomedical sciences. Comprehensive evaluations using course learning objectives will maximize IQB Program efficacy and ensure that needed changes are identified and incorporated.
|Hoffman, Kathleen; Leupen, Sarah; Dowell, Kathy et al. (2016) Development and Assessment of Modules to Integrate Quantitative Skills in Introductory Biology Courses. CBE Life Sci Educ 15:|