2018 Summer Workshop

Wicked Problems: Investigating real world problems in the biology classroom

June 18-23, 2018
Harvey Mudd College, CA


Application Deadline: April 2

Climate change. Emerging infectious diseases. Water quality. Crop production. We invite you to explore how to use wicked problems like these to engage your students in your classroom, and beyond.  Wicked problems are open-ended, complex problems without clear solutions, which involve both social and scientific challenges.  These problems are a space to add effective pedagogical approaches such as case pedagogies, and community based or place-based learning.  Wicked problems also provide a rich space to include systems thinking, interdisciplinary approaches, and quantitative skills such as data science and modeling.

Wicked problems require diverse problem solving strategies, so we encourage you to bring a colleague from another discipline who would be interested in working on wicked problems.  BioQUEST has always been an interdisciplinary group, and we welcome colleagues outside biology who are interested in working on biological problems.  We will be using the National Academies publication, A New Biology for the 21st Century, as a source book for identifying connections between biology and some of the world’s pressing wicked problems.

This workshop is appropriate for college faculty from two and four year institutions, future faculty, as well as high school faculty teaching advanced or AP biology. Given the breadth of the topic, all biological disciplines from molecular biology to ecology will find a niche.  Faculty from other disciplines are welcome as well, and we encourage teams to apply.

BioQUEST has been offering the summer workshop experience for over 30 years.  The experience is simultaneously invigorating and exhausting and creates a strong, supportive community of innovative educators. We invite you to participate in this transformative experience and get new and exciting ideas about teaching!


Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education

QUBES is a community of math and biology educators who share resources and methods for preparing students to use quantitative approaches to tackle real life biological problems.

The five major QUBES initiatives include:

  • QUBES Consortium:  coordinating the efforts and resources of disparate communities invested in promoting quantitative biology education;
  • QUBES Faculty Mentoring Networks:  supporting faculty understanding and implementation of specific quantitative biology concepts and teaching approaches;
  • QUBES Hub:  increasing the visibility, utility, and adoption of existing quantitative biology materials and the capacity for peer educator interaction;
  • QUBES Metrics:  quantifying and tracking faculty contribution to quantitative biology education scholarship; and,
  • Implementation Research:  studying and disseminating the features of QUBES that increase implementation success.

BioQUEST is one of the founding institutions of the QUBES project. QUBES is funded by the NSF.

Here’s what we’ve been up to recently!


Images from BioQUEST Workshops and Projects