(The FASEB Journal.2014;28:531.11)

BioMap: an interpretation of the core concepts of vision and change for general biology majors

Sara Brownell1,  Scott Freeman2,  Mary Pat Wenderoth2 and Alison Crowe2
1School of Life Sciences Arizona State University Tempe AZ United States
2Biology University of Washington Seattle WA United States

Biology as a discipline has expanded dramatically. As we begin to acknowledge that we cannot possibly teach everything in an undergraduate biology curriculum, we struggle to come to consensus about what is most important to teach. The report Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education (AAAS, 2011) offers a set of five core concepts that are intended to provide structure for an undergraduate biology education: (1) evolution, (2) structure and function, (3) information flow, exchange, and storage, (4) pathways and transformations of energy and matter, and (5) systems. We have taken these general concepts and interpreted what they mean for the three major sub-disciplines of biology: molecular/cellular biology, physiology, and ecology/evolution. Using a grassroots approach of soliciting input from faculty at a diverse range of institutions nationally, we have incorporated the feedback of over 240 faculty members to create a set of general principles and specific statements that elaborate on each of the five concepts. This document is being called “BioMap” because biology departments can use it as a resource to guide curricular design. We also provide recommendations for how departments can use BioMap to better align their teaching with the goals of Vision and Change.

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