Occasional Paper I: What Works: A Research-Rich Environment
A Focus on Students
Reformed curricula should be lean, lab-rich, and focused on showing the connections between disciplines.
The science curriculum should not be a look-step, fact-filled sequence of courses focused on preparing students for GRE requirements.
National and institutional data about why students stay and succeed in science and mathematics should be gathered and shared.
Reform must begin by re-examining institutional priorities and reallocating resources before requests for external support can succeed.
Understanding more clearly what works will help determine what changes can be made without additional funding, and the nature and level of internal and external support needed to accomplish major reform.
To be successful, reforms need support from administrators "with clout," as well as from a critical mass of committed faculty.
Because of their history, mission, and flexibility of action, many liberal arts colleges provide models of how to develop a research-rich environment.
Those who say "it cannot be done" with large classes are being proven wrong by successful efforts to introduce active learning at some major research universities.
Recognizing that today's students learn best when they are "doing" science as active participants in a research-rich, collaborative environment for learning, we recommend: