Overarching Objective and Primary Theme: Preparing Undergraduates to Become Future Leaders in Science Research and Medicine. As a recipient of a joint HHMI award, the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges (the "5Cs": Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps Colleges) will work collaboratively in their efforts to achieve the overarching objective.

Strategies to accomplish the objective: We will employ two broad-based strategies to achieve our objectives: one, the building of an interactive community of faculty across the 5Cs dedicated to the integration of quantitative and computational approaches into biology; and two, the implementation and strengthening of initiatives to increase the persistence of all 5C students, especially those from underrepresented groups, in STEM fields. Specifically, we will establish a 5C curricular working group in quantitative and computational biology to spearhead a coordinated effort to develop and disseminate, at the local and national levels, pedagogical resources at the interface of mathematics, computer science, and the biological sciences. Recognizing the critical importance that an in-depth research experience plays in the academic success and future careers of our students, we will create an integrated 5C summer undergraduate research program, with a focus on cross-campus, collaborative, and interdisciplinary projects; in addition, under the joint mentorship of faculty from two different departments, we will establish a small number of interdisciplinary research collaborations each summer that will promote the application of quantitative approaches to the life sciences. At each of our five institutions, we will develop and strengthen tailored summer programs for incoming students, with a shared goal of attracting and enhancing the academic success of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science. We will also create an integrated 5C-wide support community, with a focus on community building and professional development, for students from traditionally underrepresented groups. Finally, since a strong commitment to activities that support the broader educational community is essential for students who will become future leaders, we will actively promote the extensive opportunities for participation in K-12 science outreach programs across our five campuses to all of our undergraduates.

Expected broad impacts: In addition to the immediate impact on our students of the strategies listed above, we hope our efforts will provide a model for institutions that wish to design and implement joint programs in collaborative science education. In particular, though each of the 5Cs has a distinct mission, we anticipate that our efforts will inform future initiatives at institutions that may not share identical traditions in science.

Expected and measurable outcomes: Expected outcomes resulting from the above programs include the following: one, an increase in the number of biology students who will have demonstrated proficiency in the methods of quantitative and computational biology and who will have gained expertise in quantitative and computational methods through participation in summer and academic-year research projects; and two, an increase in the number of students, especially those from underrepresented groups, who persist in science courses and who graduate as science majors.

Strategies to assess the outcomes and impacts: All components of this HHMI program will be assessed against the overarching goal of preparing our undergraduates to become leaders in science research and medicine, and appropriate instruments will be developed in collaboration with local assessment experts. In addition, we will fully assess our efforts to integrate our proposed programs on course development, research opportunities, and academic support across the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges.

For More Information

Clarissa Cheney, Ph.D.
Pomona College
Department of Biology
121 R.C. Seaver Biology Building 175 W. 6th Street
Claremont, CA 91711-6301


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