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CBE Life Sci Educ. 2017 Spring;16(1). pii: ar5. doi: 10.1187/cbe.16-01-0019.

Life Science Professional Societies Expand Undergraduate Education Efforts.

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Education Office, American Physiological Society, Bethesda, MD 20814
Education and Professional Development, Genetics Society of America, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Education Foundation, American Society for Plant Biology, Rockville, MD 20855.
Education, American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC 20036.


The Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education reports cite the critical role of professional societies in undergraduate life science education and, since 2008, have called for the increased involvement of professional societies in support of undergraduate education. Our study explored the level of support being provided by societies for undergraduate education and documented changes in support during the Vision and Change era. Society representatives responded to a survey on programs, awards, meetings, membership, teaching resources, publications, staffing, finances, evaluation, and collaborations that address undergraduate faculty and students. A longitudinal comparison group of societies responded to surveys in both 2008 and 2014. Results indicate that life science professional societies are extensively engaged in undergraduate education in their fields, setting standards for their discipline, providing vetted education resources, engaging students in both research and education, and enhancing professional development and recognition/status for educators. Societies are devoting funding and staff to these efforts and engaging volunteer leadership. Longitudinal comparison group responses indicate there have been significant and quantifiable expansions of undergraduate efforts in many areas since 2008. These indicators can serve as a baseline for defining, aligning, and measuring how professional societies can promote sustainable, evidence-based support of undergraduate education initiatives.

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