The first summit of projects funded by the National Science Foundation’s Research Coordination Networks for Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) program was held January 14–16,2016,in Washington,DC. Sixty-five scientists and science educators from 38 of the 41 Incubator and Full RCN-UBE awards discussed the value and contributions of RCNs to the national biology education reform effort. The summit illustrated the progress of this innovative UBE track,first awarded in 2009. Participants shared experiences regarding network development and growth,identified best practices and challenges faced in network management,and discussed work accomplished. We report here on key aspects of network evaluation,characteristics of successful networks,and how to sustain and broaden participation in networks. Evidence from successful networks indicates that 5 years (the length of a Full RCN-UBE) may be insufficient time to produce a cohesive and effective network. While online communication promotes the activities of a network and disseminates effective practices,face-to-face meetings are critical for establishing ties between network participants. Creation of these National Science Foundation–funded networks may be particularly useful for consortia of faculty working to address problems or exchange novel solutions discovered while introducing active-learning methods and/ or course-based research into their curricula.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)