UCSB receives $1.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create an active learning program for biology majors

May 29, 2014

Imagine being an undergraduate student surrounded by the intensive scientific research activity of a world-class research university and experiencing the close engagement and intimate atmosphere of a small liberal arts college. A $1.5 million award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to UC Santa Barbara will make that experience possible for biology students.

Sixty percent of all undergraduates who enter college intending to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) do not complete bachelor’s degrees in any of those disciplines. The new BioMentors program at UC Santa Barbara, funded by the HHMI, is designed to address the challenge of increasing the success and retention of STEM majors by building learning communities that engage students and instructors in a highly interactive environment.

“This generous award from the HHMI will allow us to enhance the experience that students at a large research university enjoy, with the close mentoring and involvement of instructors typical of a small institution,” said Joel Rothman, director of the UCSB-HHMI Undergraduate Science Research Program and Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB). “This new program brings to the students active engagement during the learning process in a rich spirit of community and cooperation.”

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