Undergraduate Curriculum Redesign

The University of Maryland's curriculum initiative addresses HHMI's goal of strengthening the quality of bioscience education for all undergraduate students, including non-science majors, and better preparing students for careers in biomedical research, medicine, and science teaching. Another important goal of the program is to broaden access to science for all students, including underrepresented minorities and others for whom such opportunities are often limited.

We aim to create a research-focused curriculum that complements our existing culture of undergraduate research. At the introductory course level, we are introducing students to the tools of modern biology and building conceptual foundations for subsequent, more discipline-specific courses. This includes an emphasis on current research instrumentation and new interdisciplinary analytical methods, which has culminated in the creation of open-ended upper division laboratory courses that build upon previously introduced methodologies. We strive to provided a structured exposure to research at all course levels, based on the philosophy that science should be taught as it is practiced.

To achieve these goals, we have assembled faculty teaching and learning communities that integrate the perspectives of faculty, lecturers, lab coordinators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate teaching assistants. Each community has responsibility for developing new laboratory and/or active learning modules in a thematic area, starting with introductory courses and extending through to upper-level courses.

Ongoing curriculum projects include: