Strategies for Implementation of Plans to Advance Integration of Research and Education.

NSF-AIRE Fellows

As faculty time constraints are the most critical factors in ensuring the success or failure of the curricular revision efforts, we propose to hire NSF AIRE Fellows in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and ES/STS. A postdoctoral teaching Fellow will be hired for one or two years to work with faculty mentors in selected departments or interdisciplinary programs. The Fellows will gain valuable experience in undergraduate teaching and will learn methods of enhancing science education through research at introductory and advanced levels. While gaining teaching experience, the Fellow frees up and works with faculty to develop new or revised courses and laboratories. The Fellows will have the opportunity to conduct research and mentor undergraduates in independent research.

Expanded Use of JanPlan

Teaching distributional courses during January allows students to focus on one subject intensively.

We view the January Program (or JanPlan) between semesters to be an opportune time to develop additional linkages to off-campus internships. We will build on partnerships beyond Colby by expanding an existing network of scientists who take our students into their laboratories to conduct research during JanPlan and the summer. Colbyıs Off-campus Studies Program has considerable information about off-site opportunities and will support this effort.

JanPlans are excellent times to meet with experts and hold workshops to focus on particular issues, such as attracting women and minorities to the sciences or pedagogical approaches.

JanPlan periods also provide excellent opportunities for faculty to collaborate off-campus or develop new courses, laboratory exercises, or research skills.

Use of New Technologies

An AIRE grant will allow our faculty to develop new ways to integrate computers into our laboratory and research programs, enhancing student computer literacy and developing their electronic data gathering and analysis skills.

The Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Sciences will collaborate with other Colby science departments to train and assist students in writing computer programs and developing mathematical models to be incorporated into the studentsı research programs.

Students will receive enhanced training in use of the World Wide Web to access and evaluate information and to disseminate information on their research activities.

Support for research includes installation of a rapid ethernet, cutting edge classrooms and laboratories with full computer and display capabilities, net-based interactive software use, a new videoconferencing capability, distribution of course information over the network, and software training workshops (e.g., on PowerPoint, desk top publishing, sophisticated graphics).

Workshops

Colby has an established pattern of facilitating workshops (e.g., recently we held a Project Kaleidoscope workshop on interdisciplinary and environmental studies). Unlike publications and Website production, workshops allow for discussion and immediate feedback. The workshop agenda will focus on efforts that have been a success and an analysis of those that might have been less successful. Colby is currently installing videoconferencing as a new communication tool on campus made possible through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This videoconferencing capability could be used in conjunction with other institutions who might wish to hold a conference with Colby faculty and administrators about our AIRE Program.

Course Development Stipends

The following memo was sent to the faculty inviting applications to further the integration of education and research across the campus.

Request for Proposals, 2000-2001

Colby is one of ten colleges nationally that has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the Awards for the Integration of Research and Education (AIRE) program. Centered on the theme, "education through research," one component of the NSF-AIRE grant supports summer course development stipends for faculty in fields outside of the traditional sciences. This summer will be the second of three summers in which these grants are available. Proposals for new courses or significant enhancements of existing courses at all levels (100-400) are welcome, provided they address the following criteria:

  1. Promote the philosophy of "education through research" (see statement on the opposite side of this memo);
  2. Contain student group or individual research project(s), that foster critical thinking, writing, and public speaking skills;
  3. Are offered at least twice and are likely to become a regular part of the curriculum, beyond the initial offerings;
  4. Include a plan for assessing the success of the new course or course enhancement is proposed. We would be happy to discuss assessment strategies.

Proposals that do one or more of the following will be highly regarded:

  1. Enhance faculty-student and faculty-faculty research collaborations that are linked to the curriculum;
  2. Link individual courses taught by two or more faculty that focus on a well-defined issue or problem through research projects or service learning;
  3. Illuminate the social, historical, and otherwise humanistic aspects of scientific, environmental, medical, or other technological issues.

Summer stipends of up to $3,000 are available for individual or coordinated course development. Grant requests should include an account of proposed activities, justification according to the criteria outlined above, a tentative course outline, and a schedule showing when the course will be taught. Proposals for summer 2001 support, for courses to be taught initially in the 2001-2002 academic year, should be submitted to the Dean of Faculty by February 1st.

The NSF-AIRE Steering Committee hopes that these course development grants will foster cross-campus interdisciplinary connections and contribute to a new level of collaboration and integration of the principles and practices of education through research across divisions.

Natural Sciences Career Network.

We work with the Career Services and Off-campus Studies Offices to use the newly developed Natural Science Career Network to increase opportunities for internships and employment with active research components at institutions other than Colby. A whopping 80% of the respondents to our recent science alumni survey indicated that they were willing to serve in such a Network. The Natural Science Career Network is a collaborative effort among Colby alumni, the Off-campus Studies Office, the Natural Sciences Division, and the Career Services Office. This network opens doors of opportunities for our students. While still at Colby, these students will be able to obtain internships in research laboratories off-campus.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

To further instill a research-oriented culture at Colby, we will to hold an annual research symposium for all students conducting research. Students will present their posters and oral presentations at designated times throughout a week at the end of the year in a public area where all faculty, administrators, and students can view or hear them. Considerable publicity and institutional recognition will be provided for this event, serving to recognize the importance of integrating research and education and to reward students for their participation.

Return to Education Through Research