Lecture Title:The Impact of Integrating Research Into Early Undergraduate Education
Time: 17th,May (Wednesday) 2:00 p.m.
Lecture Room: 6#309
Lecturer:John M. Olson, Ph.D.
School of Life Sciences
Peking University, Beijing, China.
Lecture Brief Introduction:
During the spring 2016 semester, we launched a new discovery-based learning program designed to get students involved in research at an early stage of their academic careers. Working with groups of undergraduate and early starter students (high school students that will enroll in the university the following fall) we embarked on a project to generate new mutants inDrosophila melanogasterusing an insertional mutagenesis technique. These mutations then were evaluated in a behavioral assay involving circadian rhythms.This program is based on the Undergraduate Research Consortium in Functional Genomics (URCFG) program that I ran at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Since 2003, the URCFG has provided authentic research experiences in a structured classroom setting to over 850 undergraduate students, primarily first- and second-year students and new transfer students from local community colleges. Didactic instruction in science, laboratory ethics and professional development complement the laboratory research. URCFG students work collaboratively on multi-year projects that involve hundreds of students, each student doing a small set of experiments during a 10-week academic session. Importantly, students acquire a strong sense of ownership of their data and can look forward to authorship on a peer-reviewed publication when their project is complete. To date, we have published two papers with 134 and 264 undergraduate authors respectively(Call et al., 2007;Chen et al., 2005); a third publication with 276 student authors is currently in preparation. One of the biggest impacts has been on the retention of students in the sciences. Analysis revealed that 95.2% of URCFG students completed a STEM degree within 6 years of enrollment at UCLA, compared to 69.3% for UCLA students and 35.1% nationally. These results support the idea that early participation in scientific inquiry can improve STEM retention. We will continue to assess and evaluate the impact of engaging students in authentic research at early stages of their academic careers for the students at Peking University.