Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Undergraduate Science Education Program
at the University of Delaware

Faculty Teaching Fellows

The four-year, $1.7M grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to the University of Delaware for undergraduate science education focuses on and is entitled "Stimulating Attitudes of Inquiry." This theme comes from a quotation from James Bryant Conant, distinguished chemist, educational scholar, college administrator, government advisor, statesman, and author.

"When does a scientist become a scientist? It is not when a person knows many facts and even understands in depth some aspect of the natural world. I would suggest the transition occurs when curiosity about a phenomenon leads to an inquiry for new knowledge. This can occur in a person with little or lots of knowledge about a subject. It is an attitude of inquiry."

The grant promotes attitudes of inquiry through its funding of approximately 25 undergraduate research students each year, equipping introductory biology and chemistry laboratories with computers and instruments to conduct modern experiments, providing support for under-represented minorities in the sciences (NUCLEUS), funding undergraduate peer tutors for science courses that use problem-based learning, supporting an out-reach project in analytical chemistry for high school students, and by promoting active-learning strategies in the classroom through the Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education (ITUE). This latter effort includes the HHMI Faculty Teaching Fellows program.

Each year, up to five University of Delaware science faculty members can become HHMI Faculty Teaching Fellows by participating in the one-week summer institute conducted  by the University of Delaware's Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education. ITUE emphasizes active-learning strategies and pedagogically sound uses of instructional technology. Fellows are eligible for up to $1000 for educational software and hardware, travel to educational conferences, and student assistance related to their instructional activities, and may be eligible for matching funds from their department or college. Faculty members in the sciences, who wish to become HHMI Faculty Fellows, should send a formal request to Hal White and provide a brief description of how funding will help them transform a particular undergraduate science course they teach.

Who is eligible? All faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are eligible. In addition, faculty in the Departments of Physics, Mathematics, Medical Technology, Physical Therapy, Animal Science, Plant and Soil Science, and Entomology are eligible if their proposals relate to service courses required by or serving majors in the biomedical sciences, e.g. MATH-221/242, PHYS-201, and the like. Faculty interested in transforming related laboratory courses are strongly encouraged to apply.

HHMI Faculty Teaching Fellows will be encouraged to promote and participate in inter- and intra-institutional dissemination of innovative teaching and learning strategies. For example, HHMI will fund science education scholars from other institutions to present their work in regularly scheduled departmental seminar series. The first of these seminars was presented in Biological Sciences by Dr. Malcolm Campbell from Davidson College on March 5, 1999 and a Science Education Seminar Series, The Role of the Research University in Science Education, K-16, took place in the Spring 2000. In 2001, there were three distinguished speakers in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in the HHMI Series.

Last updated 20 February 2004
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