Each summer, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Academies invite college and university faculty and instructional staff to attend a five-day workshop focused on scientific teaching in undergraduate biology education at The University of Minnesota. The goal of this workshop is to transform teaching in the undergraduate classroom by drawing on current research about active learning, assessment, and diversity to improve education and attract more diverse students to research.
This year, over 50 participants from 18 institutions convened from June 9-14, 2014 to participate in the NANSI conference, which was directed by Dr. Robin Wright, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Initiatives, Head of the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning, and professor of genetics, cell biology and development in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota.
During the conference, teams of educators from different institutions work together, with a focus on topics such as biochemistry, ecology, evolution, gene expression and heredity, to develop scientific teaching materials they can use in their classrooms. Participants learn about and apply strategies of active learning and assessment, with an attention to issues of diversity that can help attract and retain more students to science.
Since the first Summer Institute in 2004, over 150 institutions have sent teams to one of the Summer Institutes that have been held around the United States (please see map). For more information about the National Academies Summer Institutes, and how to apply for a summer institute in your region, please visit nasummerinstitutes.org/midwest/.