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College Receives $1.5 Million for Undergraduate Science Initiatives

Funding will support programs for teaching and learning biology

Dartmouth has received $1.5 million in funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) Undergraduate Science Education Program for a variety of initiatives that will enhance the biological sciences department's offerings and promote the interdisciplinary nature of biology. The award is part of a nationwide program to strengthen undergraduate teaching that will provide $86.4 million to support programs at 50 universities.

Roger Sloboda
Roger Sloboda (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

"This award recognizes Dartmouth's strong interdisciplinary character and commitment to undergraduate teaching," says Carol Folt, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and a professor of biological sciences. "HHMI is a leader in supporting science education, and I'm pleased that they've invested in Dartmouth to help them in their work promoting science literacy among both science and non-science majors."

The award will provide funding for four major initiatives at Dartmouth that will be implemented over the next four years:

  • Stipends for undergraduates in their second year who participate in research internships with faculty members.
  • New laboratory equipment for two proposed new interdisciplinary undergraduate courses, one on the chemistry of biology, one on mathematical biology.
  • Creation of professional development opportunities for postdoctoral fellows to hone their research and teaching skills.
  • A science program involving Dartmouth faculty and students working with the local Rivendell school district, grades three through six, developed in collaboration with the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt.

"The support from HHMI will allow us to enhance our offerings that address science teaching and learning at Dartmouth, provide training in the art of teaching to our graduate and postdoctoral students, and bring Dartmouth and Montshire expertise to a collaborative venture with Rivendell elementary school teachers and students," says Roger Sloboda, the Ira Allen Eastman Professor of Biology and the principal investigator on this program. "We're all eager to develop new initiatives that not only celebrate working across disciplines, but also excite and inspire the next generation of scientists and educators."

A nonprofit medical research organization, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was established in 1953 by the aviator-industrialist. The Institute is one of the largest philanthropies in the world, spending $483 million in support of biomedical research and $80 million for support of a variety of science education and other grants programs in fiscal 2005. HHMI has supported undergraduate science education at the nation's colleges and universities since 1988.

By SUSAN KNAPP

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Last Updated: 12/17/08