Initial Publication Date: January 7, 2014

American Institute of Biological Sciences

AIBS has individual and just over 130 organizational members.
Education staff lead: Susan Musante,
The mission of AIBS is to enable wise decisions in which the life sciences and society meet while building the capacity of our communities to advance research and education in biology. AIBS listens; anticipates; advises; collaborates; and, when needed, leads efforts in the life sciences community to address scientific and societal challenges.

The AIBS Education Programs contribute to the realization of the organization's mission by building the capacity of those leading change within organizations that specifically focus on undergraduate life sciences education. As a result of our work, individuals within this community will have the knowledge and skills to facilitate changes as well as measure progress and improvements to their programs. Ultimately, as a result, students at two and four year institutions will be able to use biological knowledge and the scientific process to make informed decisions and solve real-world problems in their personal and professional lives.

AIBS solidly supports and highlights the fact that undergraduate life science courses and programs at colleges and universities need to reflect the recent acceleration of scientific discoveries, the innovation in pedagogical approaches to instruction, and the new compelling research insights into how people learn. AIBS believes that undergraduate students enrolled in life science courses should experience the dynamic, exciting nature and process of science, gain an understanding of core biological concepts, and increase their ability to use biological knowledge and the scientific process to make informed decisions and solve real-world problems in their personal and professional lives. AIBS recognizes that significant leadership will be required for the kinds of transformations necessary to achieve these goals for all undergraduate life science students.

The AIBS is engaged in a yearlong study on faculty leadership for change, supported by the HHMI, to respond to this growing need. AIBS has interviewed individuals responsible for leadership development programs and conducted a survey to identify gaps in existing leadership development programs, to better understand the leadership skills, abilities and perspectives that faculty leading change efforts require, and to learn how we might support individuals leading institutional change. In the spring of 2014, AIBS will be facilitating a meeting, the culmination of our yearlong study, to synthesize our findings and incorporate the expertise of those present. After the meeting, we will write a white paper to share the outcomes with the broader community involved in STEM faculty leadership development, and use the information to describe how AIBS may fill an identified need in leadership development. Ultimately, as a result of AIBS's work, individuals responsible for leading large-scale improvements to undergraduate life sciences education will have the knowledge, skills, abilities and support needed to lead change.

Premier Contribution to Faculty Development

AIBS's Faculty Leadership Development Study

We are in the nascent stages of developing this program. Thus far, our reach has extended to those who have participated in our discovery phase to provide input and share perspectives to inform our process.

AIBS Study on Leading Change in Undergraduate Education
Susan Musante
BioScience , Vol. 63, No. 7 (July 2013) , p. 523
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences
Article DOI: 10.1525/bio.2013.63.7.5

Additional Undergraduate Education Activities of AIBS

  • BioScience: AIBS's journal publishes peer-reviewed articles about education research and practice. []
  • A quarterly "Eye on Education" column in BioScience: freely available as open access.
  • Vision & Change Societies Group: AIBS helps to catalyze action within the life sciences community by facilitating communication between life science societies. Individuals who teach undergraduate biology are not all members of the same professional society; there are a many discipline-specific societies each with its own education programs. After the 2013 Vision & Change conference, AIBS initiated conversations between a group of life science societies to address the disparate nature of our discipline. AIBS helped organized an initial meeting to discuss what we all have in common as we work to achieve the Vision and Change goals and how we can increase our collective impact. In 2014, AIBS continues to facilitate the ongoing work of this group. We will be seeking to expand it to include even more life science societies in the near future.