Leveraging Various Opportunities for Innovation & Network Building in the Scholarship of Community College Teaching

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Presenters:  Linnea Fletcher (AC2 Bio-Link, Austin Community College) and Sheela Vemu (Waubonsee Community College)

Biology education research (BER), where biology faculty investigate teaching and learning within their own discipline, is considered a vital tool for transforming undergraduate biology education and enhancing student success. However, even though approximately half of biology majors complete coursework at community colleges (CCs), including disproportionate numbers of under-served students, only 3% of recent BER papers included a CC author or CC study context. This raises concerns that existing BER may have failed to characterize the educational experiences of half of the relevant undergraduate population and that innovations stemming from BER might not be reaching CCs. This project is a grassroots effort driven by a strong nationwide group of CC faculty to promote the scholarship of teaching. Other networks such as QUBES support CC faculty to promote, conduct CC BER while enhancing the representation of CCs in BER. The mission of the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project is to improve learning opportunities for all students enrolled in undergraduate biology courses by reflecting the centrality of quantitative approaches in modern biology. One of the missions of QUBES consortium allows CC faculty to include the scholarship of application and integration while enhancing the scholarship of teaching. QUBES Faculty Mentoring Networks have been very supportive of CC faculty’s understanding and implementation of specific quantitative biology concepts and teaching approaches. I have benefited immensely from the peer educator interactions of the QUBES Hub tool.


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