ComGen-Authentic Reearch Experience (C-ARE): a scalable model for empowering faculty at Community Colleges to bring research into the classroom
Vision and Change in Undergraduate Education, A Call to Action (Brewer and Smith, 2011) stresses the importance of introducing the scientific process to students early, integrating research activities into all undergraduate biology courses, and demonstrating both the passion scientists have for their discipline and their delight in sharing their understanding of the world with students. Community Colleges (CCs) where almost 50% of the nationﾒs undergraduates start their education, serve a diverse student population. Providing research opportunities at CCs has the potential to diversify the research establishment (Bangera and Brownell 2014). The ComGen ﾖ Authentic Research Experience (C-ARE) project will provide data for a scalable model for bringing research into the classroom in an easy-to-adopt format at CCs.
The overarching goals of this project were to implement the ComGen pedagogy in 15 CCs in Washington State and empower faculty to bring research into the classroom by creating a community of practice.
CC faculty have high teaching loads and lack the time and resources to develop pedagogical tools to bring research into the classroom. There is strong evidence that dissemination using one-time workshops may not be effective in helping faculty adopt pedagogical tools. The C-ARE approach is to provide a pedagogical toolkit developed and field-tested at CCs along with year-round support to the faculty in addition to the summer workshop. CCs also tend to have high turnover of faculty with different instructors teaching a particular course from quarter to quarter. C-ARE allows faculty from the same institution to be trained at subsequent years to mitigate this problem.
C-ARE has already accomplished its main goal of training faculty from 15 CCs and has also included faculty from 3 Universities. At any quarter around 12-14 CCs are currently implementing C-ARE pedagogy in their Majors cell biology courses and assessing impact using both published, validated tools and those developed within the project. Our current focus is on developing the pedagogical tools for the non-majors and allied health biology courses and developing a database for upload and sharing of data from the project. We are also focused on strategies to strengthen the burgeoning community of practice we are also developing easy to use web tools.
In addition to the several hundred students who are impacted directly by the implementation of the pedagogy, the C-ARE project has also caused significant institutional change bringing a culture of research into the CCs. As mentioned earlier, this change in culture has the potential to diversify the research establishment
Brewer, C. & Smith, D.E. (2011). Vision and Change. A Call to Action in Undergraduate BiologyEducation. American Association For The Advancement Of Science With Support From The National Science Foundation.
Bangera G, Brownell SE. 2014. Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Can Make Scientific Research More Inclusive. CBE-Life Sciences Education 13:602-606..
Our external evaluator fell seriously in the middle our project and we had to hire a new evaluator.
Bangera G, Brownell SE. 2014. Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Can Make Scientific Research More Inclusive. CBE-Life Sciences Education 13:602-606.
Gita Bangera, Kim Harrington and Cheryl Vermilyea (2015). Spreading the message - Bringing high impact practices from the genomics lab to the entire college and beyond.. Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) quarterly web Vignette.
Shortlidge, E. E., Bangera G and Brownell S. E. Why You Should Teach a CURE: Faculty Perspectives on Developing and Teaching Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences BioScience. (Final review)