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Confluence: A Seminar Series as a Teaching Tool

    Authors: Bryan M. Dewsbury1,*, Amy Reid1, Ophelia Weeks1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Quantifying Biology in the Classroom, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th Street, OE 165, Miami, FL 33199. Phone: 305-348-7622. Fax: 305-348-4096. E-mail: bdews001@fiu.edu.
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 258-259. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.595
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    Abstract:

    In 2007 Florida International University (FIU) received NIH, NSF, and internal support to create a curriculum that was quantitative in nature, and that incorporated some of the most contemporary approaches to the classroom. The QBIC (Quantifying Biology In the Classroom; http://qbic. fiu.edu) Program is a specialized program in the Department of Biology specifically set up to implement ‘vision and change’ principles in the department’s overall approach to students. It is now an optional track within the Department of Biological Sciences. We discuss the major objectives of this series, the affect areas that it addresses, as well as how students incorporate the series’ lessons for their own professional development. It became apparent to us anecdotally that our undergraduates were making career choices without the awareness of the many other viable career options in biology. This is not an issue unique to our institution and other authors (1) have discussed steps to address career choice and exposure. At our institution, we created a number of career development initiatives, one of which was a seminar series called “Confluence: where life and science meet.” For this series we invite science professionals from around the country to give a seminar, mostly to undergraduates, not only on the technical specifics of their field, but also on their personal life story, and how that story informed their career choice. After the seminar, the speaker sits down with a QBIC faculty member for a half-hour interview where he or she is able to go into more specifics about the themes from the seminar. The interview is videotaped in front of a live student-only audience in a film studio on campus. The recording is published on the series’ website (http://qbic.fiu. edu/confluence). In this article we discuss using the series to address issues of identity, and how our video blog can be used in other classrooms to achieve similar objectives for science students nationally.

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References & Citations

1. Baynham PJ 2010 Want to inspire science students to consider a research career? Host a scientist in your classroom J Microbiol Biol Educ 11 62 63 23653702 3577242
2. Steele C 2011 Whistling Vivaldi: how stereotypes affect us and what we can do W.W. Norton and Company New York, NY
3. Walton GM, Cohen GL 2011 A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students Science 331 1447 10.1126/science.1198364 21415354 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1198364
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.595
2013-12-02
2017-10-23

Abstract:

In 2007 Florida International University (FIU) received NIH, NSF, and internal support to create a curriculum that was quantitative in nature, and that incorporated some of the most contemporary approaches to the classroom. The QBIC (Quantifying Biology In the Classroom; http://qbic. fiu.edu) Program is a specialized program in the Department of Biology specifically set up to implement ‘vision and change’ principles in the department’s overall approach to students. It is now an optional track within the Department of Biological Sciences. We discuss the major objectives of this series, the affect areas that it addresses, as well as how students incorporate the series’ lessons for their own professional development. It became apparent to us anecdotally that our undergraduates were making career choices without the awareness of the many other viable career options in biology. This is not an issue unique to our institution and other authors (1) have discussed steps to address career choice and exposure. At our institution, we created a number of career development initiatives, one of which was a seminar series called “Confluence: where life and science meet.” For this series we invite science professionals from around the country to give a seminar, mostly to undergraduates, not only on the technical specifics of their field, but also on their personal life story, and how that story informed their career choice. After the seminar, the speaker sits down with a QBIC faculty member for a half-hour interview where he or she is able to go into more specifics about the themes from the seminar. The interview is videotaped in front of a live student-only audience in a film studio on campus. The recording is published on the series’ website (http://qbic.fiu. edu/confluence). In this article we discuss using the series to address issues of identity, and how our video blog can be used in other classrooms to achieve similar objectives for science students nationally.

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