Grant Will Fund New Introductory Science Courses

The Fletcher Jones Foundation has awarded CMC a grant of $250,000 to develop a suite of new introductory science courses over two years, to be taught in cooperation with The Keck Graduate Institute.

The new coursestaught over five semesterswould fulfill a general education requirement for CMC undergraduates and redefine the College’s expectations for introductory science education. Departing from the traditional laboratory model of instruction, the new courses would instead feature lecture, discussion, case study, and project-based teaching approaches to demonstrate the interplay among basic science, applied science, economic market forces, and public policy, says Chris Wiedey, director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at CMC.

This would be done through a team-teaching approach: faculty from the Joint Science Department would conduct lectures and discussions based on primary scientific literature, while faculty from KGI will provide lectures and lead case studies to link theory and practice. The courses would be designed around subjects students already study in other areas of the CMC curriculum, instead of courses that are more removed from the curriculum.

By building around student interest and linking subject matter to other parts of the curriculum, pathways to other science courses and interdisciplinary major programs would be createdpotentially boosting enrollment in science beyond the general education requirement.

CMC already is piloting a faculty-approved test course, called Science, Management, and Technology: Neuropharmacology, as a model for future course development. Taught by Joint Science Department chair Newt Copp, the Sidney J. Weinberg, Jr. Professor of natural Sciences, and Steven Casper, the Henry E. Riggs Professor of Management at KGI, the course currently enrolls six CMC students, six students from Pitzer College, and four from Scripps College.

“The primary goal of this project is to redefine the general education science model for non-science majors in Claremont,” Wiedey says.