The national campaign “Educate to Innovate” highlights the demand for more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors to fulfill growing needs in research, biotechnology and medicine. The Department of Biology has embraced this initiative and is looking towards innovation to educate the next generation of scientists.
Our department is becoming a leader in STEM education. With the award of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for Undergraduate Science Education in 2014, we are at the forefront of curriculum reform, incorporating the latest in pedagogy and developing new techniques in STEM education to enhance learning in the sciences.
This grant is being used to support activities that are intended to increase the persistence of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) undergraduates, including biology majors. Drexel’s grant supports activities focused on building mentored student communities to help students better acclimate to university life, promote their academic success and encourage professional identity development. The grant also supports the development of mentored faculty communities focused on working together to identify and incorporate teaching strategies into introductory STEM courses that effectively improve student academic success and retention. The Department of Biology will be among the first to incorporate these approaches into courses designed to support biology majors.
Our department was also selected to join the HHMI Science Education Alliance’s Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program in 2015. The program is an initiative to increase interest and retention in the biological sciences by engaging freshmen through immediate immersion into research.
Through this program, select biology majors will engage in a yearlong laboratory course sequence where they will engage in the discovery and characterization of new mycobacteriophages, which are a type of virus that infects bacteria. This course is intended to allow students the opportunity to engage in authentic scientific discovery, to learn about genomics, and to contribute new knowledge to the scientific community.
Learn more about the Howard Hughes Medical Institute