Public Release: 

4 ASM-NSF biology scholars named leadership fellows

American Society for Microbiology

The ASM-NSF Biology Scholars Program is pleased to announce that four Scholar alumni have been chosen for a group created to recommend institutional-level improvements for undergraduate biology education. Teresa C. Balser, Dean, Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida; Loretta Brancaccio-Taras, Chair, Biological Sciences Department, Kingsborough Community College, Nitya M. Jacob, Chair, Biology Department, Oxford College; and Todd P. Primm, Chair, Biological Sciences Department, Sam Houston State University, have been named Vision and Change Leadership Fellows of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) program.

A joint initiative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and National Institutes of Health (NIH), the PULSE program is an effort to support a yearlong program in which fellows consider and then recommend models for improving undergraduate life sciences education. The effort is rooted in recommendations made in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action, a report published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011.

Forty Vision and Change Leadership Fellows were selected from more than 250 applications.

"The fellows represent a diverse group of extremely capable faculty," says Judith Verbeke of NSF. "They bring a variety of experiences that will inform the development of an implementation framework that will transform undergraduate education in the life sciences."

The fellows will produce an implementation framework describing strategies for institutional change. Because a change in institutional culture is needed, PULSE activities are focused on academic departments rather than individual faculty members. The framework document will be available on the PULSE website, and other life scientists are encouraged to review it and provide comments from November 2012 until May 2013.

A full list of the Vision and Change Leadership Fellows is available at


Sponsored by a grant [DUE-1022542] from the National Science Foundation, the ASM-NSF Biology Scholars Program is a national leadership initiative that seeks to improve undergraduate biology education based on evidence of student learning. The program has brought together more than 150 Scholars to create and disseminate examples of scholarship in teaching in biology. These examples have been made possible through the program's independent, but intertwined, virtual residency programs -- the Assessment, Research, and Transitions Residencies. For more information, please visit

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.

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