School of Natural Sciences’ efforts at promoting diversity and academic excellence in STEM education received a boost this summer when two prestigious grants were awarded to SNS faculty. Together, these studies aim to improve retention rates and educational outcomes through active learning experiences, and to bring together a learning community of faculty and peers that provides student support and promotes inclusiveness. Engaging students in active learning in the lab and classroom makes it easier for them to connect with the subject matter and learn about concepts in a more critical and evaluative manner.
Building Capacity for Inclusiveness in Biological Sciences
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence Initiative awarded SNS faculty, led by Professor Jennifer Manilay, $1 million over the next five years to promote inclusive excellence in Biology courses. The project will establish a faculty development program in inclusive teaching methods, incorporate faculty collaborations and student interests when designing a new laboratory curriculum, and develop and institutionalize faculty-student learning communities that promote a culture of inclusion. Click here to read more about it from the UC Merced News Room.
Building Capacity: Improving the Undergraduate Chemistry Experience by Green Chemistry, Active-learning, and Peer-led Experiences
Chemistry & Chemical Biology faculty also plan to shake up their curriculum by introducing new teaching methods and learning experiences for students. Their proposal was awarded over $1.4 million by the National Science Foundation. The investigators, C&CB faculty, Erik Menke, Hrant Hratchian, Benjamin Stokes, Christine Isborn and UCM Extension Director of Educational Programs, Lynn Reimer, want to increase undergraduate interest and success in chemistry and will work towards this goal by creating interactive and realistic learning experiences for students. Click here to read more about it from the UC Merced News Room.