Improving Undergraduate Science Education

Posted on May 26, 2006  Comments (0)

The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County uses innovative strategies to improve the performance of undergraduate science students.

At the start of their freshman year, all Meyerhoff Scholars attend an accelerated six-week residential program, called Summer Bridge, which includes course work, cultural explorations and meetings with leaders in science and technology. Summer Bridge sets up patterns for work and study that will shape student’s experiences for their years at UMBC and beyond.

Rather than fostering a climate of competition, the program stresses cooperation and collaboration. Scholars rely on mutual support and continually challenge each other to do more, creating a positive learning environment.

Why American College Students Hate Science by Brent Staples:

The students are encouraged to study in groups and taught to solve complex problems collectively, as teams of scientists do. Most important, they are quickly exposed to cutting-edge science in laboratory settings, which demystifies the profession and gives them early access to work that often leads to early publication in scientific journals.

While the need to improve science and engineering education is real we should remember that many good efforts exist. Expanding on the good efforts that exist and continuing to improve education system will benefit not just those students that participate but all of us that benefit from the work they will do.

”It’s Cool to Be Smart” by Kate Swan:

The strategy is working. When UMBC researchers compared the performance of early Meyerhoff graduates with that of students who had qualified for the program but gone elsewhere, Meyerhoff Scholars were twice as likely to graduate with an engineering, math, or science degree, and more than five times as likely to attend graduate school in those fields.

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