Web Date: April 23, 2008
$60 Million For Science Education
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced on April 22 that it will award $60 million over four years to liberal arts colleges to revitalize science teaching. The biomedical research-funding and philanthropic organization will provide grants ranging from $700,000 to $1.6 million to each of 48 undergraduate institutions in 21 states and Puerto Rico.
"The undergraduate years are vital to attracting and retaining students who will be the future of science," HHMI President Thomas R. Cech says. "We want students to experience science as the creative, challenging, and rewarding endeavor that it is."
Peter J. Bruns, HHMI's vice president for grants and special programs, adds that HHMI "wants to help create successful models for teaching science that can spread throughout the higher education community."
The grant recipients plan to utilize some intriguing methods to engage student interest in science. Hampton University, in Virginia, wants to recruit future Ph.D. students in the same way that basketball coaches recruit future NBA players, by identifying promising prospects and grooming them for advancement.
Faculty at Gonzaga University, in Spokane, Wash., plan to teach joint classes with a tribal college that will incorporate Native American cultural traditions such as story telling.
And the College of Charleston, in South Carolina, will set up "learning communities" for students in chemical biology and other subjects. The communities will gather students with similar interests to study, take classes, and live together.
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