The intent of our program is to catalyze a fundamental change in the way that introductory biology and chemistry laboratories are taught to undergraduates at both the University of Miami (UM) and at Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest community college in the nation. With prior Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) funding, UM developed a highly successful authentic research-based biology laboratory. Now, we will pilot an expansion of that to supplant both biology and chemistry 'cookbook' first-year labs. Subsequently, we will export the new integrated biology and chemistry lab to MDC. The MDC labs will be led by senior UM graduate students, closely supervised by their dissertation advisers, paired with advanced UM and MDC undergraduate peer facilitators. These teaching teams will guide student groups to formulate, conduct, and report research projects related to the graduate student and adviser's research. Each team will be joined by an MDC faculty member who will spend eight summer weeks doing research with the graduate student's adviser. Experienced UM and MDC undergraduate peer facilitators will further extend the reach of our labs by working with science teachers in inner-city high schools that feed into MDC. Moreover, we will continue a summer HHMI High School Scholars Research Program for seniors from inner city Miami high schools. Half of graduating seniors in Miami who attend college enroll at MDC, so early intervention with them is important. Working in high schools will reinforce the training and experience of the UM and MDC undergraduate facilitators. Along with early research experiences, a sense of professional identity has been recognized as a key element for increasing student persistence in STEM. So we will support students from MDC and HBCU's in summer research experiences at UM to create a community of STEM learners and further foster scientific professional identities. Thus, our program is explicitly multigenerational, comprising UM and MDC faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, inner city high school students and their teachers in order to effect the fundamental change that we seek.

For More Information

Michael Gaines, Ph.D.
University of Miami
Department of Biology
122 Cox Science Center 1301 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146-2509
305/284-5058 5058
m.gaines@miami.edu

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