The Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland, has announced grants totaling more than $50 million to small colleges and universities working to improve undergraduate science education in the United States.
A total of forty-three four-year grants ranging from $800,000 to $1.5 million were awarded to institutions of higher education working to create more engaging science classes, bring real-world research experiences to students, and increase the diversity of students who study science. Selected from a pool of more than two hundred applicants, the recipients include a group of five Claremont colleges in California — Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps — that submitted a joint proposal to develop programs designed to prepare undergraduates to become leaders in science and medicine. HHMI also awarded eleven Capstone Awards to longtime grantees to assess which elements of their various approaches to science education have been successful and why.
The grants were awarded through HHMI's science education initiative, which is designed to prepare undergraduates to become K-12 teachers who understand inquiry-based learning, create curricula that emphasize learning competencies instead of course checklists, define and assess what it means for a student to be scientifically literate, develop effective strategies that promote the persistence of all students in science, create course-based research experiences that help students learn science by doing authentic research, and encourage students to engage in research through one-on-one apprentice-based experiences.
"What happens during the undergraduate years is vital to the development of the student," said HHMI vice president of science education Sean B. Carroll. "HHMI is investing in these schools because they have shown they are superb incubators of new ideas and models that might be replicated by other institutions to improve how science is taught in college. [The schools] care deeply about teaching and how effectively their students are learning about science."
For a complete list of grant recipients, visit the HHMI Web site.