With the objective of improving the quantitative skills of biology majors, faculty from Radford University joined with colleagues from across Virginia and the United States on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18 at Selu Conservancy.
Hosted by the Mathematics/Statistics and Biology departments, the event featured a series of interdisciplinary working sessions. The two RU departments are spearheading a program to develop curricula aimed at giving biology students a sounder mathematical base. The program is the most recent element of a $199,000 National Science Foundation grant that is being administered by RU's Joel Hagen, biology department chair; Fred Singer, professor of biology; Jeremy Wojdak, associate professor of biology; Jill Stewart, Mathematics/ Statistics department chair, and Juergen Gerlach , professor of mathematics.
The three-year research effort, titled SUMS (Strengthening Undergraduate Math and Statistics) 4 Bio, has resulted in a series of classes that are now being taught by RU mathematics/statistics faculty to biology students. One math course for biology majors has now been taught for two semesters and a statistics course for biology major was introduced this spring.
'Thus far, we are encouraged by the modest gains in learning and improvement in quantitative skills our assessments show," said Hagen, "And this workshop gives us a further chance to assess our courses' and develop more course-related products and ideas for it and those of our colleagues."
The two-day event drew over 20 mathematicians and biologists who are also teaching faculty from across the Commonwealth and from Maine, Michigan and Oklahoma among others.