”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:
Support faculty learning about genomics.
Support faculty in developing curriculum and teaching materials informed by research in the learning sciences.
Prepare faculty to evaluate the efficacy of their genomics innovations.