Highlights of the Special Issue of BMB on Mathematical Biology Education

Monday, June 14 at 11:30am (PDT)
Monday, June 14 at 07:30pm (BST)
Tuesday, June 15 03:30am (KST)

SMB2021 SMB2021 Follow Monday (Tuesday) during the "MS02" time block.
Note: this minisymposia has multiple sessions. The second session is MS01-EDUC (click here).

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John R Jungck (University of Delaware, USA), Raina Robeva (Randolph Macon College, USA), Louis Gross (University of Tennessee, USA)


In 2020, a co-edited special issue of the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology dedicated to Mathematical Biology Education was published. This mini-symposium will be helpful to the mathematical biology community to alert them to important progress that these authors have worked so hard to achieve as well as share broadly. It addressed the history of collaboration of biologists and mathematicians in addressing numerous challenges since the 1962 symposium which articulated so many issues that we continued to have to address today. The invited colleagues have been active in national reforms efforts, have run workshops and institutes for faculty and students, have developed numerous curricular materials, edited undergraduate research journals, prepared secondary educators to include more modeling and applications in their teaching, and addressed the challenges of data science for our collective work. Also we will share new guidelines for new education oriented manuscripts to be submitted to the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology under three categories: Education Research Articles, Module Examples, and Review Articles.

Shernita Lee

(Virginia Tech, USA)
"Mathematical Biology: Expand, Expose, and Educate!"
Mathematical biology has made significant contributions and advancements in the biological sciences. Recruitment efforts focus on encouraging students, especially those who are underrepresented and underserved, to pursue the field of mathematical biology, regardless of their undergraduate institution type, and raise awareness about the countless professional and academic possibilities provided by this specialized training. This article examines the need to expand, expose, and educate others about mathematical biology. To support field expansion, we give several recommendations of ways to integrate mathematics applied curricula to attract broader student interest.  With this exposure-- whether it is led by an individual, a department, a university, or researchers in mathematical biology-- each can help to promote a base knowledge and appreciation of the field. In order to encourage the next generation of researchers to consider mathematical biology, we highlight current interdisciplinary programs share popular mathematical tools, and present some thoughts  on ways to support a thriving and inclusive mathematical biology community for years to come.

Luis A. Melara Jr.

(Shippensburg University, USA)
"The Case for Undergraduate Research Journals"
We address the important role of undergraduate research journals in the undergraduate research experience. Peer review by professional researchers is identified as the most essential ingredient in establishing the relevance of these journals as venues for research dissemination. We will introduce you to examples of three such journals—Spora, SIAM Undergraduate Research Online, and the American Journal of Undergraduate Research—with demonstrated success in supporting the undergraduate research experience.

Meredith Greer

(Bates College, USA)
"Paying Our Dues: The Role of Professional Societies in the Evolution of Mathematical Biology Education"
Mathematical biology education provides key foundational underpinnings for the scholarly work of mathematical biology. Professional societies support this work via funding, public speaking opportunities, web presence, publishing, workshops, prizes, opportunities to discuss curriculum design, and support of mentorship and other means of sustained communication among communities of scholars.  Such programs have been critical to the broad expansion of the range and visibility of research and educational activities in mathematical biology. We review these efforts, past and present, across multiple societies -- The Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB), the Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology Education and Research (BEER), the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). We then proceed to suggest ways that professional societies can serve as advocates and community builders for mathematical biologists at all levels, noting that education continues throughout a career and also emphasizing the value of educating new generations of students.

Kristin Jenkins

(University of Texas at Austin, USA)
"Building community-based approaches to systemic reform in mathematical biology education"
Starting in the early 2000’s, several reports were released recognizing the convergence of mathematics, biology and computer science, and calling for a rethinking of how undergraduates are prepared for careers in research and the science and technology workforce. This call for change requires careful consideration of the mathematical biology education system to identify key components and leverage points for change. This paper demonstrates the wide range of resources and approaches available to the mathematical biology education community to create systemic change by highlighting the efforts of four community-based education reform organizations. A closer look at these organizations provides an opportunity to examine how to leverage components of the education system including faculty, academic institutions, students, access to resources, and the power of community.

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Virtual conference of the Society for Mathematical Biology, 2021.