The ASM Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology: A Case Study of the Advocacy Role of Societies in Reform Efforts †
A number of national reports, including Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action, have called for drastic changes in how undergraduate biology is taught. To that end, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has developed new Curriculum Guidelines for undergraduate microbiology that outline a comprehensive curriculum for any undergraduate introductory microbiology course or program of study. Designed to foster enduring understanding of core microbiology concepts, the Guidelines work synergistically with backwards course design to focus teaching on student-centered goals and priorities. In order to qualitatively assess how the ASM Curriculum Guidelines are used by educators and learn more about the needs of microbiology educators, the ASM Education Board distributed two surveys to the ASM education community. In this report, we discuss the results of these surveys (353 responses). We found that the ASM Curriculum Guidelines are being implemented in many different types of courses at all undergraduate levels. Educators indicated that the ASM Curriculum Guidelines were very helpful when planning courses and assessments. We discuss some specific ways in which the ASM Curriculum Guidelines have been used in undergraduate classrooms. The survey identified some barriers that microbiology educators faced when trying to adopt the ASM Curriculum Guidelines, including lack of time, lack of financial resources, and lack of supporting resources. Given the self-reported challenges to implementing the ASM Curriculum Guidelines in undergraduate classrooms, we identify here some activities related to the ASM Curriculum Guidelines that the ASM Education Board has initiated to assist educators in the implementation process.
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