The College of Natural Sciences is a national leader in developing transformative, pioneering educational programs that prepare our students to lead influential, successful lives.
It is important that the college continue to innovate in its efforts to use advanced learning technology and introduce students to discovery-based research. We aim to be a world-renowned leader in the latest approaches to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pedagogy. The following three actions will keep the college at the forefront in educating the next generation.
1. Develop an undergraduate curriculum that provides flexibility in degree requirements, increases access to essential courses, and maximizes the use of technology and inquiry-based methodologies.
- Our faculty will actively engage in the development of innovative curricula, including the medical school curriculum, to expand opportunities for our students.
- Our courses will continuously evolve, teaching students to think like scientists and mathematicians to prepare them to thrive and contribute to the world.
2. Expand successful programs such as the Freshman Research Initiative, Texas Interdisciplinary Program Scholars, college readiness programs, and freshman learning communities.
- These programs increase retention and decrease time to degree for undergraduates, particularly with first generation college students and students that are traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields.
3. Create a “Texas Center for Science Discovery” that further enhances the college’s leading role in the STEM education revolution. The center will:
- Support and facilitate the development of novel teaching methods that merge technology and inquiry-based instruction to improve student learning.
- Provide seed funding and a supportive, fertile environment for the development of experimental, pioneering programs, increase our competitiveness for external funding to launch those programs, and offer professional education and assistance for faculty to effectively implement changes in courses.
- Extend the college’s focus on undergraduate research with expanded funding for undergraduate summer research projects.
- Develop a training program to prepare graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to become outstanding future educators by providing opportunities and expert guidance.
- Serve as a center for career mentoring and career opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows by expanding the career services currently offered by the college to the latter two populations. This will contribute to an environment for recruiting the best graduate students and fellows.
- Develop a faculty-led program that encourages student entrepreneurial activities.
- Create a physical space that unites and synergizes these activities. The center will provide student interaction areas, space for sponsored student organizations, large, modern classrooms that support experiential and technology-driven learning, and space for student teams to work together in a highly technical environment. The center will serve as a central focus for STEM education and showcase our commitment to communicating science throughout the university and beyond. This space could serve as a central resource for several colleges, including the College of Pharmacy and the Jackson School of Geosciences, to unite undergraduate and graduate education with community outreach programs.