Undergraduate Science Education Grants to Research Universities (2014)

University of California-Berkeley

Over the past 22 years, UC Berkeley's Biology Scholars Program (BSP) has successfully facilitated the academic success (i.e., graduating with a biology degree and an exit GPA competitive for graduate or professional school) of some 2,900 undergraduates - 80% low-income/first-generation, 70% women, and 60% underrepresented ethnic minorities. We will use the HHMI grant 1) to improve existing BSP advising, tutoring, and instruction, and 2) to develop effective approaches to scale and generalize BSP practices to help colleagues across campus to more effectively advise, tutor, and teach all biology majors beyond BSP, with a special emphasis on those from low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented ethnic minority backgrounds.

Our approach to improve BSP and to disseminate its 'best practices' campus-wide will be driven by qualitative data (e.g., observations and participant narratives) and quantitative data (e.g., grades, GPA, graduating with a biology degree, pursuing a biology-related graduate or professional program and career) from ongoing and iterative evaluation/research over the 5 years of the grant. A team of social science researchers will evaluate BSP, attempt to figure out why BSP interventions 'work' and use these data to develop effective dissemination approaches (e.g., annual campus-wide STEM Interventions Conference, workshops and trainings, staff 'swaps') for faculty, staff, and graduate students involved with course instruction, academic advising, and tutoring.

Our evaluation focus will be on how BSP activities affect program participants' persistence and success in biology in terms of their self-efficacy, science identity, resilience, and vulnerability to stereotype threat. Beyond BSP, over the course of the grant, the evaluator along with a team of social science researchers will develop ways to evaluate the impact of the dissemination of BSP practices on the overall quality of undergraduate education of biology majors at Berkeley.

For More Information

John Matsui, Ph.D.
University of California-Berkeley
Department of Integrative Biology
2016 Valley Life Science Building
Berkeley, CA 94720-0001

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