May 25, 2012 - Claremont, Calif. -
HHMI grant will support HMC's summer researchers, like these students
in chemistry Professor Karl Haushalter's lab, who are helping to develop a
lentivirus delivery vehicle that could potentially be used to develop an
effective gene therapy strategy for HIV-AIDS patients.
The five undergraduate colleges (5-Cs)-Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona and Scripps-submitted a joint proposal to the 2012 HHMI Colleges Initiative outlining a plan to instill quantitative and computational approaches in their life science courses and increase the persistence of all students in the sciences. While each school has its own emphasis and strengths, together they form a complementary group of adjoining campuses with a combined population of 650 faculty and more than 5,000 undergraduates.
HHMI received 182 proposals and The Claremont Colleges' proposal was one of only 43 funded. It was also the only joint proposal to receive HHMI funding.
"Collaboration is a vital activity that drives science forward," said HHMI President Robert Tjian. "We believe that collaboration among institutions can have a similar catalytic effect on science education, and we look forward to seeing these schools work together to develop new science and teaching programs that inspire their students."
The award comes at a unique time in the 5-Cs' history. The life science programs at all five of the undergraduate Claremont Colleges have expanded considerably in the past 20 years, and with a shared academic schedule and a strong tradition of cross-registration, the schools now stand ready to build new, substantive and synergistic collaborations across their institutions.
"Our science departments have a long history of interaction, but this funding allows us to truly integrate our efforts," said David Hansen, Weinberg Family Dean of Science, W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Scripps College. "I am most excited about new initiatives for the support of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in science."
"This HHMI funding represents an exciting opportunity for The Claremont Colleges to be at the very forefront of curricular innovation at the intersection of biology, computer science and mathematics," said Robert Drewell, associate professor of biology at Harvey Mudd College, the lead institution for executing the grant. "In addition, the creation of an integrated summer undergraduate research program across the five Claremont Colleges is very significant, as it will build on the existing interactions between research groups on the different campuses."
1. New courses and laboratories. A 5-C Curricular Working Group will lead efforts to develop and distribute teaching resources at the interface of math, computer science and biology for use at local and national levels.
2. Summer research fellowships. An integrated 5-C Summer Undergraduate Research Program will be created, with a focus on cross-campus, collaborative and interdisciplinary projects.
3. Academic support. All 5-Cs will develop and strengthen summer programs for incoming students, with the shared goal of supporting the persistence and academic success of all students in science.
4. Peer community for underrepresented students. An integrated, 5-C-wide support community will focus on social integration and professional development for students from traditionally underrepresented groups.
5. K-12 outreach. All 5-Cs will promote opportunities for undergraduate participation in science outreach programs to support the broader educational community.
All five initiatives will be assessed, in collaboration with outside assessment experts, in relation to the unifying goal of preparing 5-C undergraduates to become leaders in science research and medicine.
Contact: Judy Augsburger