Thompson, K.V., T.J. Cooke, W.F. Fagan, D. Gulick, D. Levy, K.C. Nelson, E.F. Redish, R.F. Smith, and J. Presson. 2013. Infusing quantitative approaches throughout the biological sciences curriculum. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/0020739X.2013.812754
A major curriculum redesign effort at the University of Maryland is infusing all levels of our undergraduate biological sciences curriculum with increased emphasis on interdisciplinary connections and quantitative approaches. The curriculum development efforts have largely been guided by recommendations in the National Research Council’s Bio 2010 report and have resulted in revisions to courses in biology, mathematics, and physics over a period of 10 years. Important components of this effort included (1) developing online modules to infuse moremathematical content into six biology courses taken by biological sciences majors during their first 2 years of study; (2) strengthening the interdisciplinary connections of ancillary courses in mathematics and physics to support the development of quantitative skills in biological contexts; and (3) creating more quantitatively intensive courses for the final 2 years of the bachelors of science programme. These efforts, carried out by a large, multidisciplinary team of faculty, have resulted in increased coherence in the undergraduate biological sciences curriculum, increased quantitative skills in first- and second-year students, and a greater appreciation among graduates for the essential relationship between mathematics and modern biology.