Biology professor to help reform science education

David Marcey, CLU’s Fletcher Jones professor of developmental biology, has been chosen to be one of 40 Vision and Change Leadership Fellows to help bring about educational reform in the life sciences at the undergraduate level.

The Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) has partnered with the National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health to create the yearlong program called the Vision and Change Leadership Fellowship.

According to Marcey, those three sponsors are the three largest investors in biomedical and science education in the country.

“We’re interested in people who feel this as a passion,” said Bruce McClure of the National Science Foundation in a video on the PULSE website.

“These are the people that are bumping right up against the issues.”

Marcey is the first professor at California Lutheran University to receive this fellowship.

“It was a chance to be involved with a large group of motivated faculty from institutions across the country with a common goal of reforming science education, specifically biology, at the undergraduate level,” said Marcey.

Dennis Revie, professor of biology at CLU and head of the biology department, said Marcey is an excellent choice for the fellowship.

“It’s great,” said  Revie. “[Marcey] is very interested in changing how biology is taught.”

Marcey is working alongside professors from John Hopkins University and the University of Washington.

He is also one of only three professors chosen to be a Vision and Change Leadership Fellow.

“Most of the fellows come from programs in which life science education reform has been successful,” said Marcey. “It’s quite an honor to be associated with this effort.”
In 2011, PULSE conducted Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action.

This call to action set the wheels in motion to figure out what aspects of undergraduate life science education need to be changed and revamped.

“We’re building upon accomplishments that have been made over the past two or three decades by on-the-ground faculty thinking hard about how to improve their teaching practices and to improve the experience that undergraduate students have in life science classrooms,” said Dr. Cynthia Bauerle of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in a video on the PULSE website.

So far, the Vision and Change Fellows have had one summit meeting in Bethesda, Md.

At this meeting, they broke up into smaller groups to work on different aspects of the reform models and implementation.

“Each of the working group’s work are devising aspects of a large-scale framework for implementation,” said Marcey.

Marcey is working in a group to have ambassadors for life sciences bring Vision and Change models to biology departments.

His group is also coming up with ways to attract department heads and faculty to Vision and Change models.

CLU’s biology department has already put into practice many of the teaching reforms that the Vision and Change Leadership Fellows have come up with.

“It is likely that we would modify our curriculum to conform to [the Vision and Change Leadership Fellows’] ideas,” said Revie.

“We want to do the best job we can teaching biology, as it prepares our students for their future endeavors,” he said.


Elessandria Smith
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 14, 2012