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Editorial Board of the Biological ESTEEM Collection
Biology |
Mathematics |
Editor John R. Jungck |
Editor Raina Robeva |
Section Editors Evolutionary Biology and Bioinformatics Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Microbiology Population Biology and Developmental Biology Physiology Botany Ecology |
Section Editors Eric Marland Jennifer Galovich Elio Ramos Rene Salinas Tim Comar Mike Martin Renée Fister |
MAA Digital Classroom Resources Editor
Doug Ensley
Department of Mathematics
Shippensburg University
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved, The Mathematical Association of America.
Implementing NRC Bio 2010's Recommendations for More Mathematics in Undergraduate Biology Education
In 2002, the National Research Council made eight major recommendations for the improvement of undergraduate biology education in its publication: BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. The first two of these recommendations both emphasized the need for additional attention to the inclusion of more mathematics:
“It is important that all students understand the growing relevance of quantitative science in addressing life-science questions. Thus, a better integration of quantitative applications in biology would not only enhance life science education for all students, but also decrease the chances that mathematically talented students would reject life sciences as too soft … Most biology majors take no more than one year of calculus, although some also take an additional semester of statistics. Very few are exposed to discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability, and modeling topics, which could greatly enhance their future research careers. These are often considered advanced courses; however, many aspects of discrete math or linear algebra that would be relevant to biology students do not require calculus as a prerequisite. While calculus remains an important topic for future biologists, the committee does not believe biology students should study calculus to the exclusion of other types of mathematics.”
Explicit strategies for implementing these recommendations were the subject of a follow-up conference entitled “Meeting the Challenges: Education Across the Biological, Mathematical and Computer Sciences” and a book published by the Mathematics Association of America entitled: Math & Bio 2010: Linking Undergraduate Disciplines.
Members of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium were funded to develop modules to address these challenges through a new initiative: Biological ESTEEM (Excel Simulations and Tools for Exploratory, Experiential Mathematics). The recommended areas: “discrete mathematics, linear algebra, probability, and modeling topics” will be illustrated through materials that were developed in biochemistry, bioinformatics, biometrics, developmental biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, microbiology, and physiology. All materials are easily run on economical microcomputers equipped with Microsoft Excel and a web browser. Biological ESTEEM modules are downloadable at no charge.
John Jungck, "Biological ESTEEM - More about the collection," Convergence (December 2005)