”Big Science at Small Colleges” centered on a grassroots model for faculty development in genomics education at liberal arts colleges with research active faculty. Key features of this genomics curricular development project were: a) a pedagogical design framework based on the recommendations of a National Research Council report on successful laboratory learning experiences; b) financial and intellectual support for participating faculty members from a range of colleges to develop inquiry-based, integrated instructional units (I3Us), using their choice of organism, and with a strong emphasis on integration of biology at multiple levels of organization from molecular/cellular through physiological and organismal to ecosystems, via approaches that included computational components and considerations of gene/genome evolution; and c) useful, data-rich assessment of each module and its implementation successes and barriers. The project also supported the construction of a dedicated infrastructure to disseminate the curricular modules, all associated documentation and links, and self-reported implementation and assessment outcomes, via a new website.

The specific objectives focused on faculty development to:

  1. Support faculty learning about genomics.

  2. Support faculty in developing curriculum and teaching materials informed by research in the learning sciences.

  3. Prepare faculty to evaluate the efficacy of their genomics innovations.