PULSE: The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education



New and Noteworthy:

The Bio-MAPS Project is now recruiting schools to participate in a pilot study:

As part of a multi-institution biology education research team, we are constructing a general biology programmatic assessment. The purpose of this assessment is to measure students’ understanding of core concepts in biology at multiple time-points in the curriculum. As part of the development process, we are recruiting a diverse set of institutions, including community colleges and primarily undergraduate serving institutions, to pilot this general biology assessment. The purpose of this pilot is to collect data on the quality of the questions being designed. If your institution is interested in piloting this assessment, please contact Christian Wright at cdwrigh2@asu.edu. He will provide you with more information about the assessment piloting process and answer any questions you might have.

The Bio-MAPS (Measuring Achievement and Progress in Science) assessment team:

Sara Brownell, Christian Wright  (Arizona State University)

Brian Couch (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)

Alison Crowe, Scott Freeman (University of Washington)

Jenny Knight, Kate Semsar (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Michelle Smith, Mindi Summers, Darlene Trucotte (University of Maine)

Several V&C-based Online Training Programs have recently become available:

  • Finding and evaluating electronic resources to use with students
  • Effectively using electronic resources in student-centered learning
  • Applying the core concepts and competencies of Vision and Change in Science Education to existing classroom materials
  • Finding and evaluating existing resources and resource collections centered around Vision and Change
  • Furthering their professional development by participating in an online community
  • An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching - This free, online, seven-week course explores effective teaching strategies for college or university STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) classrooms. The course, beginning October 6, will draw on the expertise of experienced STEM faculty, educational researchers, and staff from university teaching centers, many of them affiliated with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of 22 research universities collaborating in the preparation of STEM graduate students and post-docs as future faculty members. Although intended for postdocs and junior faculty, the course could be of great benefit to senior faculty interested in transforming their pedagogy.

Recent Publications of Interest (also see PULSE Member Publications):

  • Achieving Systemic Change. This sourcebook by The Coalition for Reform of Undergraduate STEM Education is intended as a useful resource for all who have a stake in creating STEM solutions for US society. It addresses the rationale for investing in systemic change throughout higher education, identifies critical areas for investment, and provides pointers to key reports and current STEM education reform efforts.
  • Biocore Guide: A Tool for Interpreting the Core Concepts of Vision and Change for Biology Majors, CBE Life Sci Educ June 2, 2014 13:200-211; doi:10.1187/cbe.13-12-0233. Using a grassroots approach to incorporate feedback from more than 240 biologists, the authors have taken the core concepts of Vision and Change and created the BioCore Guide—a set of general principles and specific statements that expand upon the core concepts, creating a framework that biology departments can use to align with the goals of Vision and Change.

Announcement about 2015 Gordon Conference on Undergraduate Biology Education Research

A new Gordon Research Conference on Undergraduate Biology Education Research will be held July 12-17, 2015 at Bates College in Maine.  More information on this meeting can be found in this flyer.  

Northwest PULSE Workshop October 15-17, 2014 in Seattle, WA

14 Institutions and Departments from the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming have been selected to participate in the 2014 Northwest PULSE Community of Practice Meeting in Seattle, WA.   Information about this meeting and application materials can be found here.  The 14 new members of the NW PULSE Community of Practice can be found on the Northwest Community Map here.

PULSE Community Stories of Change Map is Now Live

Is your Department or Institution looking to start the process of Curricular Transformation, or are you far along your own unique path to improving student learning outcomes and retention in the Life Sciences?  Wherever you are, you can now visit the new PULSE Community Stories of Change Map for inspiration, motivation, and new connections to others in the PULSE Community who are engaged in similar efforts.  This interactive map contains stories of Departmental change from across the United States and Canada, and from all major institution types (Community Colleges, Liberal Arts, Regional Comprehensives, and Research I).  Many of these brief stories contain additional materials that you can access to help catalyze your local and regional efforts.  As your transformation yields measurable results for your students, we hope that you will consider sharing your unique story so that the PULSE Community can continue to grow together!

New Videos about Scientific Communication in the Public Sphere

The PULSE Fellows would like to call the Community's attention to a series of new videos on YouTube about scientific communication and how scientists can help guide the public in scientifically-informed decision making.  The documentary is called UpStream and all four chapters can be accessed through this link: Upstream Video.  Each chapter is 7-8 minutes long and they overall address how scientists can effectively engage (or in many cases, don't) with the public regarding controversial issues.

PULSE Community Overview is Now Live

Do you want to network with other PULSErs in your region committed to changing the practices of undergraduate Life Sciences education? Then the  PULSE Community Overview is for you. This is a new Google Map that shows the location of each institution in the US with at least one member in the PULSE Community. The map can be found on the right hand side of the PULSECommunity.org site by going to "PULSE RESOURCES" and then PULSE Community Overview. The map gives the membership of the site as of May 15th, 2014 and will be updated on a regular basis as the PULSE Community grows. Network away!

New Department Evaluation Rubric is available.

In addition to the PULSE Vision and Change Rubrics (below), a shorter, Department Evaluation Rubric that has been employed in recent workshops is now available. See the Strategic Planning section of the Online V&C Toolkit.

PULSE Vision and Change Rubrics

The PULSE Vision & Change Leadership Fellows are pleased to release the PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics v1.0.

The PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics articulate fundamental criteria for evaluating the level of adoption of the principles of Vision and Change in life science departments. The rubrics can provide a structure for departmental reflection and discussion regarding topics relevant to program transformation. Ultimately, the rubrics are intended to serve as the basis for a tiered certification program for undergraduate life science departments that have adopted some or all of the principles outlined in the Vision & Change report and a blueprint for change in departments that have not yet adopted those principles.

Please use and share the rubrics, send us feedback for improvement, and contact us with any questions (contact information is included on the document cover page).  When the Rubric Instruction Manual and PULSE Vision & Change Certification Program are completed we will share those as well.

You may download the rubrics here: PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics v1.0.pdf. Also, you may see how the rubrics can fit into a general strategic planning process in the Strategic Planning section of the V&C Online Toolkit. More information is found on the V&C Certification page.

This PULSE Community Website

This website (NING) has been set up for members of the PULSE community (that's you) to exchange ideas with one another, provide insights and feedback to the Fellows, and share & explore resources as we revolutionize undergraduate life science education together.

We've tried to make the site easy to navigate. However, should you need help figuring things out please see the video tutorials (available in the VIDEOS in the column to the right) for information on:
  • Participating in a discussion
  • Changing your email settings
  • And much more...

... Or contact us for technical support at Support@PULSEcommunity.org.  Thank you.



Become a mentor with the new American Society for Cell Biology Mentorship in Active Learning and Teaching (MALT) program

Started by Michael Wolyniak Feb 3. 0 Replies

Colleagues-      The American Society for Cell Biology has introduced the Mentorship in Active Learning and Teaching (MALT) program to promote the formation of long-term mentorships that can spread the Vision and Change recommendations to new…Continue

Greatest Challenges to the Implementation of the Vision and Change Recommendations

Started by Sharon Gusky. Last reply by Sharon Gusky Apr 20, 2014. 12 Replies

What do you see as the greatest challenges to the implementation of the Vision and Change recommendations for introductory biology courses?   How have you tried to address these challenges?Continue

Online Biology: Opening Pandora's MOOC

Started by Mark Farmer. Last reply by Dr Henry Furneaux Oct 20, 2013. 5 Replies

At the risk of opening Pandora’s box I want to raise the topic of online introductory biology courses for majors.Like many of you we are receiving inquiries from our administration about developing online courses to serve as alternatives to our…Continue

Faculty Networks - Webinar Update

Started by Costa Michailidis. Last reply by Deb Scheiwe Aug 16, 2013. 21 Replies

On Thursday, May 16th at 2:00pm Eastern Time, join Faculty Networks for a live webinar update. Sharon Gusky, Jo Anne Powerll-Coffman and Gina Semprebon will be briefing you on progress and taking your questions, input and feedback.Simply reply to…Continue

Tags: f3

Vision and Change Recommendations

Started by Sharon Gusky. Last reply by Dr. Debra Costa-Nino Jun 7, 2013. 5 Replies

What Vision and Change recommendations have you incorporated in your courses?Continue

Blog Posts

How Do Textbooks Need to Change?

Posted by Dan (A. Daniel) Johnson on January 7, 2014 at 11:59am 2 Comments

I attended the DC meeting that led to the 2011 Final Report, and was amazed at the energy in the community. Now that we have some roadmaps and general strategies, it's time to tackle the specific barriers to student learning. One that is…


Advancing Health – The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine Certification)

Posted by Austin Richerd on October 22, 2013 at 2:30am 0 Comments

The American College of Sports Medicine imposes strategic efforts that puts into practice the advancement of health of every individual. Such that, as the largest sports and exercise science organization, ACSM…


V&C Rubrics

Posted by A. Malcolm Campbell on July 21, 2013 at 5:59pm 1 Comment

I just took a look at the rubrics and I am very impressed. This is the type of practical documents that departments can use. 

Kudos to the authors. 

I also like the effort to get certification program going. Let me know if you are…


Who are you connected to?

Posted by Aristotle on May 27, 2013 at 8:29am 0 Comments

The 2 foundations of a great network are the connectors (the people who link people together) and the links themselves.

I thought it would be interesting to show how people are already connected within the PULSE…


AAAS Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: Chronicling the Changes- Abstract from Taking the Pulse

Posted by Sandra L. Romano on February 14, 2013 at 10:22am 0 Comments

Taking the Pulse: Development of a certification program to recognize life science departments implementing the recommendations of the Vision and Change Report

The 2011 report, ‘Vision and…


AAAS Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: Chronicling the Changes-- Abstract from Spreading the Pulse (V&C Ambassadors)

Posted by Gary Reiness on February 12, 2013 at 1:00pm 0 Comments

Ambassadors for Curricular Change

A multi-year planning process produced the 2011 report, ‘Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action’ that advocated for a…


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Dear SW PULSE members!This announcement is specifically for those of us in the Orange County, Riverside, and LA area.ASM scholar Anne Rosenwald from Georgetown University will hold a beginner level hands-on bioinformatics workshop Saturday June 20th in Costa Mesa as part of the GenomeSolver Initiative http://www.genomesolver.org/Educators interested in incorporating bioinformatics tools into their courses but feel unprepared, as well as those interested in becoming involved in a community-based science project using bioinformatics are encouraged to participate. Community College instructors are especially welcome! Please spread the word to your local contacts.Location: National…See More
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