New program for educators developed as National Science Foundation institute
Washington University in St. Louis will offer a master of science in biology degree specifically for in-service teachers through University College, its adult, evening and continuing education division in Arts & Sciences.
WUSTL faculty created and piloted the degree with 90 biology teachers nationwide as a National Science Foundation teacher institute.
Barbara Schaal, PhD, the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor in biology in Arts & Sciences, and Victoria L. May, assistant dean in Arts & Sciences, used a blend of current research in life sciences and in education to design the program.
Schaal, a leading researcher in the nutrition and evolution of plant crops, also is the vice president of the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Her interest in helping all students understand the interconnectedness of living systems led to her involvement with the program.
The biology department faculty members who teach in the program integrate their own related current research to apply scientific importance of scientific issues to the global community.
“In the middle of the H1N1 epidemic, the scientific understanding of the virus was changing daily, which made the class’ discussion of the evolution of flu viruses particularly relevant,” Schaal says.
The two-year program — designed to fit the schedules of working teachers — will consist of two summer institutes, three weeks each, in residence at Washington University. The remaining coursework during the academic years will be completed online. Summer housing is available for out-of-town students.
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