UNIS part of new centre for excellence in education: bioCEED

UNIS part of new centre for excellence in education: bioCEED

Top image: Arctic biology students on fieldwork in Van Mijenfjorden. Photo: Steve Coulson/UNIS. 

Today it was announced that bioCEED – Centre for excellence in biology education, is one of three centres getting funding from the Research Council of Norway. The centre is led by the department of biology at the University of Bergen, in collaboration with the department of Arctic Biology at UNIS, department of Education (UiB) and the Institute of Marine Research.

8 November 2013
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen / UNIS

The news was announced today in Oslo, where UNIS director Ole Arve Misund and head of the Arctic biology department, Ole Jørgen Lønne, were present. The centre will get funding for five years, with the possibility of an additional five years after a first mid-term evaluation. It is associate professor Pernille Bronken Eidesen who will lead the UNIS part of the centre.

– We are extremely proud and happy about this announcement, says Misund. – The announcement reflects the hard work that has been done by the University of Bergen, Institute of Marine Research and our own department of Arctic biology, he continues.

This is the third centre of excellence that UNIS becomes part of in the last two years. From before we’re a partner in the Centre for excellent innovation (SFI) SAMCoT (Norwegian University of Science and technology) and the Centre of excellent research (SFF) Birkeland centre (University of Bergen).

The vision of bioCEED
Over the past decades there has been a rapid development in the roles and responsibilities of biology – and biologists – in society. Today, evolutionary thinking is important not only in the biology sciences, but also in medicine, psychology, information technology, management, humanities and social sciences. The practical skills of biologists, from genetic engineering to ecosystem assessment and analysis, are increasingly in demand in research, industry, and governance. The global challenges related to food production, environment and climate also requires biological solutions. The role of biologists in society can be seen as a (growing) triangle in the tension between theory, practice and society.

The vision behind bioCEED is that the rapid developments in the role of biology and biologists in society place new demands, not only to the content of biology education, but also to how we educate tomorrow’s biologists.

bioCEED will (among other things):
• Make use of the entire biological ‘triangle’ in education – give students experience with theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and socially relevant tasks throughout their studies.
This will be achieved in part by:
– continued focus on ‘field and lab’
– provide internships in research, management and industry

• Change from a culture of ‘teaching’ to one of ‘learning’
– engage students actively in their own learning
– develop and test new teaching methods across the ‘triangle’
– share experiences through web forums, workshops ‘lessons stay’ and conferences

• Bring the best from the research culture into our teaching culture
– shared responsibility, continuous development, ‘peer-review’ and recognition
– create room for discussion, exchange of experiences, learning and development
– document and disseminate knowledge and experience with biology teaching
The goal is that our programs will develop basic academic skills and attitudes of students, while preparing them to solve important problems in science, industry, and society.

bioCEED is a collaboration between biology programs at UIB and Svalbard (Arctic Biology at UNIS), science education (Higher Education Research Unit, UIB) and practical training (represented by The Institute for Marine Research, but including a range of private and public research, industry, and environmental management institutions), as well as partners at home and abroad.

Fieldwork Kongsfjorden Svalbard

UNIS Arctic biology students on fieldwork in Kongsfjorden. Photo: Steve Coulson/UNIS.

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