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Undergrad S&T Classes: Innovation and Excellence

At Syracuse University, students learn computer security by studying hackers’ tricks. At Western Washington University, faculty and staff have developed a virtual laboratory that allows students thousands of miles away to use the university’s advanced scientific equipment. At the University of Mississippi, biology classes are making more use of case studies that pose challenging questions for students to solve.

Those innovations in undergraduate education are among 17 highlighted in a recent report on the U.S. National Science Foundation program Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (TUES). AAAS administered the program’s 2008 meeting and developed the ensuing report, “New Challenges, New Strategies: Building Excellence in Undergraduate STEM Education,” which was delivered this month to members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff.

“We’re looking for things that you can hold up and say, ‘Yes, there are things that we can do to provide a better science experience for people,’” said Shirley Malcom, head of Education and Human Resources at AAAS. “We have to think: What are they going to walk away with as the headline of science in their lives as they go on to be journalists or judges or whatever they want to be?”

To see the TUES report, visit: