NEWS from the Certification Team
The PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education) certification process is an ambitious endeavor designed to motivate important changes in life sciences education nationwide. More than 70 life science departments applied to be part of the pilot certification project, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, and eight were selected based on initial evidence of transformed and innovative educational practices, including Gaston College, Whatcom Community College, Davidson College, Stony Brook University, Georgia Southern University, the University of Wyoming, and Morgan State University. The programs chosen represent a wide variety of schools, including two-year colleges, liberal-arts institutions, regional comprehensive colleges, research universities and Minority Serving Institutions.
Complete story here: PULSE Progression Levels Announced!
PULSE: Vision & Change Rubric Data Portal and Self-Study: still looking for more data!
We would like to invite PULSE community members to engage with the work of life science departmental transformation by using our PULSE Vision & Change Rubric Data Collection Portal to enter data for their life sciences programs. The creation of the PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics was announced in the Dec 2013 Edition of CBE Life Sciences Education. The rubrics were created to help stimulate the widespread adoption of the recommendations outlined in the 2011 Vision and Change and can provide a structure for departmental reflection and discussion regarding topics relevant to program transformation. The rubric portal has been designed to capture data on where life science departments are along a spectrum of V&C recommendation adoption and collect feedback on the PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics.
Currently, we are engaged with eight institutions in a pilot certification program to assess the degree to which life sciences departments have adopted the principles outlined in the Vision and Change report. The PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics are a key component of the certification evaluation. However, to develop the standards for certification we are seeking input from a large number of programs at institutions of all types. To easily collect rubric data we have created an online rubric portal. To assist departments with interpretation of the rubric criteria, we have assembled a detailed instruction manual. We are interested in institutions using the rubrics, Instruction Manual, and accompanying BioCore Guide, a nationally validated tool, to help faculty interpret the core concepts of Vision and Change, to engage in a self-reflective process and act as Self-Study Pilot Members.
There are two ways to interact with the rubric portal. The first is simply to review the rubrics and make comments and/or give feedback regarding specific criteria. We are soliciting feedback from individuals on the rubrics so that they can be improved. If any of the criteria are unclear, or if important criteria are missing, please enter comments in the places provided as you complete the survey. To do this request to access the rubric portal as an individual.
The second way to interact with the rubric portal will allow collection of institutional data online. To do this, request to access the rubric portal as an institution. The data entered should be reflective of the program as a whole and the scores established collaboratively by faculty in the program with the approval and (hopefully) participation of the chair. The data we collect will assist us with norming the certification process. Individual institutional data will be kept confidential with access limited to the project team. Some of these data may be shared publicly, but we will maintain institutional anonymity in any public disclosure of results.
By collecting data from a large number of institutions of different types, we hope to obtain a national snapshot of the positioning of undergraduate life sciences departments along the path of implementation of the principles and recommendations of the V&C report. In the short term, we hope that departments that complete the PULSE Vision & Change Rubrics to generate self-study data will reflect on their progress and these data will help them develop goals and plans for transformation. In the long term, collection of rubric scores from a variety of institution types now and at time points in the future will create a long-term data set that will ultimately help measure progress toward the goal of transformation of Life Sciences programs in line with the recommendations of the Vision and Change report.
The Certification Program Pilot and Data Collection effort grows out of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE: http://www.pulsecommunity.org/), a national project initiated by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This project is being funded jointly by the NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Directorate of Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts to support Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education (Award #1350120) .