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FLCC awarded $500k to reform curricula

A $500,000 grant will allow the Finger Lakes Community College biology faculty to lead a national effort to reform undergraduate biology curricula at community colleges.

FLCC awarded $500k to reform curricula

A $500,000 grant will allow the Finger Lakes Community College biology faculty to lead a national effort to reform undergraduate biology curricula at community colleges.
James Hewlett, FLCC professor of biology, was awarded the grant from the National Science Foundation. Hewlett’s proposal for the grant, among 300 the foundation received nationwide, was the only community college proposal to be fully funded, officials said.
“I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious grant,” Hewlett said. “This is the culmination of more than four years of work here at FLCC to develop a model to reform undergraduate biology curricula at community colleges. With this funding, along with the help of my colleagues at FLCC and other area colleges, I am confident we will be able to refine this model and help community colleges deliver excellence in the classroom.”
FLCC will lead and coordinate the efforts with the help of four other area colleges—Rochester Institute of Technology, Monroe Community College, Genesee Community College and Tompkins Cortland Community College—and Delaware Technical and Community College. The $500,000 grant funds a three-year project that will begin the implementation and assessment phase of a model for reforming undergraduate biology curricula at community colleges.
FLCC officials said the goals of the new model include:

  • Integrate project-based learning (undergraduate research);
  • Address many of the barriers associated with conducting undergraduate research at the community college level;
  • Employ successful teaching strategies as a vehicle for integrating real-world projects in the sciences;
  • Integrate inquiry-based methods of teaching;
  • Include additional community colleges to build a network of two-year college professionals dedicated to utilizing undergraduate research as a teaching tool;
  • Incorporate a four-year college collaboration with community colleges; and
  • Incorporate access to collaborations and networks of research scientists from which novel research questions can be drawn.
    “When all is said and done, FLCC will be the driving force behind how community college students across the country learn biology,” said Barbara Risser, FLCC president.

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