Carl Wieman Initiative: Transforming Science Education at UBC

Working with departments and students to reshape science education at UBC

Society is steeped in science, and as humanity learns to explain and alter our world at an unprecedented rate, science plays an increasingly important role in our everyday lives—and our common future. Whether studying the effects of climate change, discovering new genetic tests, tracking an avian flu epidemic, or making advances in fundamental health research, science is everywhere.

But disconcertingly, studies show that many university graduates lack basic scientific literacy—at a time when the demand for scientifically savvy members of society is increasing dramatically. Meanwhile, many institutions remain fixed on traditional teaching methods that often don’t provide students with an optimum learning experience.

Over the past three years, the classroom experience of more than 18,000 students has been improved by UBC’s Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative. Over 40 courses in seven departments are undergoing, or have already completed, transformation. The work has attracted international attention and support. But the task is still not complete.

A key challenge in transforming science education is revisiting the way we design and deliver learning experiences. UBC is exploring better ways to help students develop critical learning and problem-solving skills without sacrificing the scholarly output of the professors–an essential contribution of any university.

Over the next several years, the University is presenting its alumni and community with a rare opportunity to invest in a profound educational movement. Please contact the Development Office at 604.822.3404 for more information, and for details on how you can help us reinvent science education at UBC.