“As we think about the content that must be introduced in biology education, we really are talking about the need to teach future biologists, doctors, chemists, and poets, and my grandchildren’s future science teachers, and US presidents and members of Congress and state legislatures, and school board members.” Vision and Change, A Call to Action
Much has been written about our nation’s students falling behind other students in math and science. Research shows that the quality of teaching makes an enormous difference in filling gaps in achievement. Students who have teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to teach math and science effectively are more likely to be able to succeed.
Each summer “On Campus Discoveries in Science” offers workshops for high school and college science teachers on the Kingsborough campus. The Summer Institute is designed to deepen teachers’ knowledge of biotechnology and to help them offer their students challenging, up-to-date learning experiences based on real-world learning. There are two separate workshops, one on Gene Transfer and Genomics and the other on Gene Cloning and Proteomics. New York City teachers are informed about the Summer Institute in several ways, including mass mailings to Science Department Chairs, meetings with Kingsborough College Now high school faculty, word of mouth from previous participants, and Kingsborough’s Department of Biological Sciences dedicated email link.
The Summer Institute workshops involve eight days of hands-on laboratory training in biotechnology with expert faculty, delving into topics such as gene modification, food production, and drug testing. There are field trips to science sites such as the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the American Museum of Natural History. There are also opportunities to hear from biology faculty about their current research, and meetings with industry representatives to learn about current trends in the field of biotechnology. The workshops also provide teachers with access to a lending library of lab supplies that can be used in their classrooms and a selection of kits that will facilitate science teaching in the high schools. After participating in the Summer Institute, teachers can make arrangements to bring their own students to the Kingsborough campus where they will have a hands-on experience in biotechnology in a college laboratory and meet students who are majoring in college science.
A major goal of the Summer Institute is to inform teachers about the articulated program of study in which their students can become qualified to enter the city’s growing biotechnology workforce. Students can complete an A.S. degree in Biotechnology at Kingsborough and then can transfer to a degree program in biology at Brooklyn College. The A.S. program is the only two-year degree program in biotechnology in the City University of New York system. A special feature of the curriculum is that it is front-loaded—students gain most of their specialized knowledge in the first two years and can move into entry level jobs, and/or choose to work toward a higher degree and more open-ended career pathways. For more information about the A.S. Degree in Biotechnology, visit our link.
Science Education Course in Biotechnology
On Campus Discoveries in Science also sponsors a three-credit science education course, Genetics, Genomics, Gene Ethics, at Brooklyn College. Pre-service and in-service teachers in a science education program attend an innovative course in teaching biotechnology focused on real-world learning. The class is composed of modules that emphasize interactive presentations and the sharing of science lessons that work in the classroom. The course also looks closely at the new Common Core Standards for Science, and how students benefit from its emphasis on process in science.