Many of the changes recommended in the report are long-respected by reformers of natural science education (Science, 31 August 2000, p. 1607), such as laboratory exercises and independent research programs that stimulate thinking. To improve students' quantitative research skills, teachers should involve more concepts of mathematics and physical science in the biology class. According to the report, under ideal conditions, all courses need to be revised to increase the proportion of mathematics and physics. "Most college students are still preparing for the biology of the past rather than the future." Lubert Stryer of Stanford University, chairman of the review panel, said.
But these reforms face many obstacles, including the cost of developing new course materials and the conservative impact of medical school entrance exams. When it comes to curriculum arrangements, higher education should include a large number of internship courses: "People say that the only place that is more conservative than medical schools is the church." Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is responsible for funding and Peter Bruns, vice president of special programs, said. HHMI is one of the funders of this survey. However, even if the reform is on the agenda, it is difficult for various departments to agree on how to implement the reform.
This report urges all faculty members to develop interdisciplinary courses, which can provide several course samples to help college students better prepare for future biological research. But the review team also suggested that each department should analyze its own needs. "The committee did not try to characterize the course samples in detail, which is very sensible, because one version is not suitable for all situations." Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University and biologist.
One way to achieve biology teaching reform is to add some attractive favorable conditions. To this end, next week HHMI will provide 20 senior teachers who have made recommendations to promote biology education at the school for a total of USD 1 million for 4 years. This idea not only provides the role model, but also provides the required financial resources. This method is very meaningful for Stryer. He said that active leadership is the key to the implementation of the review team â€™s recommendations.
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