Update – April 2012
Higher Education Newsletter
We’ve recently had an invited article—The Dance of Science and Mathematics in Higher Education: the Quantitative Skills (QS) in Science Project—published in the December 2011 edition of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) newsletter that outlines the aims and progress of the QS in Science project to date. We’re pleased this article allows us to communicate our research findings and message to a wider audience. Would you like the QS in Science team to draft an article for your professional society’s newsletter? Contact us.
12 Online Case Studies
We’ve made a great deal of progress in the QS in Science project and now have Case Studies from 12 Universities published online. With a focus on how QS are incorporated across the science curriculum, the Case Studies examine majors in biological science, chemistry and biomedical science with two case studies from the United States. View our Overview page for summaries and links.
The initial coding of over 35 interview sessions from 13 universities is done! Recall our sampling strategy was to study those universities in Australia where QS were identified as a learning outcome. We then selected two exemplar case studies in the United States for benchmarking purposes.
Drawing on Fullan’s model for large scale educational change, our first round of coding highlights that most Australian universities are in the early stages of implementing changes to build QS and are taking varying approaches to threading QS across the undergraduate curriculum. As you would expect, our initial data analysis has raised many questions. As we progress, we’ll focus on answering the following in our second phase of data analysis:
1. Who are the drivers for change—seeking to build the QS of science students—and what is motivating them?
2. How are mathematicians and scientists working together to address the challenges of building QS across the science degree program?
3. In the era of government accountability, how do we know our students are graduating with sufficient QS?
We look forward to reporting on this data and offering examples of how institutions are overcoming common obstacles. Please contact us if you have a relevant question that you might like us to explore in our next phase of data analysis.
Following our busy year of data collecting in 2011 (!) we are planning for a busy year of reporting and engaging you all in discussions on how to move forward in building the QS of Science students. We have workshops, presentations and scholarly articles planned for 2012 and 2013. We’ll be posting more information throughout the year, but in the meantime check out our Events page.
Education at the Intersection of Physics and Biology
Biology and physics communities have a unique opportunity to collaborate and contribute to a special issue of CBE—Life Sciences Education (CBE-LSE)—an online journal from the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). Due to be published in 2013, the issue will focus on the integration of physics and biology education. Abstracts are due by June 1, 2012. For more information, see Call for Papers. Remember, CBE published a special edition on integrating biology and mathematics in 2010.
In our next Update, we’ll provide more details on the QS in Science events planned for later in the year.