July 2012 Update
The QS in Science project is in the dissemination phase. We have some upcoming workshops including the Australian Council of Deans of Science Learning and Teaching forum (19-20 July, Sydney) and two overseas workshops in October/November. We will also be sharing our report The State of Quantitative Skills in Undergraduate Science Education. See our Events page for more information.
Our project report – open for discussion
Findings of the QS in Science project have been formulated into a report – The State of Quantitative Skills in Undergraduate Science Education. The key findings are organised around seven points, with the team proposing several recommendations in the form of “QS Phase 2 Project Proposals”. We invite you to comment and become involved. See Get Involved for more information.
Why is QS change needed?
Part 2 of our interview with Professor John Rice—Executive Director, Australian Council of Deans of Science—exploring the issues related to Quantitative Skills (QS). This video— Why is QS change needed?—outlines some academic perspectives and concerns.
Our website features 12 case studies, highlighting how undergraduate science degree program curricula are structured to build QS. The main findings from our analysis of the case studies are summarised below:
- There is no pattern in the curricular approaches implemented to build QS across the 12 case studies;
- The mathematical preparedness of entering science students influences how science curricula—particularly in first year (freshman year)—is structured in regards to building QS;
- There is a lack of effective, sustainable collaboration across science and mathematics departments on matters of curricula design to build QS; and
- Curricular resources to build—or remediate—QS tend to be developed reactively by teaching academics, in isolation from the broader curriculum or materials available from other institutions.
We’ll explore these finding in our upcoming workshops.
Advice to young scientists
We’ve found a great TED talk from EO Wilson—advice to young scientists—which speaks directly to biologists on the issue of mathematics in biology and maths phobia that keep many bright students away from science. You can view this and related videos via QS in Science YouTube Channel.
Call for Papers – iJMEST Special Issue
A quick reminder – we need your contributions and scholarly papers for a Special Issue of International Journal of Mathematics Education in Science and Technology (iJMEST). We hope contributors will come from a range of disciplines. Additional details are outlined on our Get Involved page.
In our next Update, we’ll discuss our project findings and report on our workshops from the Australian Council of Deans of Science Learning and Teaching forum.