BIMS

Tag: laboratory renovation competition

Lab Renovation Competition

by gwilson on Jul.29, 2009, under A Day in the Life...

blueprintIn January 2007, McMurry’s President, Dr. John Russell, charted out a bold plan for McMurry’s future.  The plan is called Vision 2023 and calls for McMurry to become a regional leader in science education and science teacher preparation.  A central component of this vision was the call for curricular and pedagogical innovation, and the provision of spaces and resources in support of these changes.  The text of President Russell’s presentation can be found at:  http://www.mcm.edu/newsite/web/univ_relations/univ_update.htm

The first major step in transforming spaces for innovation in teaching and research is not far away.  McMurry science faculty have been invited to participate in a competition this August to propose renovated spaces to enable curricular and pedagogical innovation.  Teams of faculty from a variety of departments are readying their concepts of what McMurry lab spaces might look like for supporting exciting new ways of teaching and learning.  Judging the competition will be board members, cabinet members and others who will match the vision for science spaces with Dr. Russell’s vision for the future.  The winning proposal will be funded with renovation anticipated to start next summer.  The other proposals will provide ideas for Advancement to use in soliciting funds for support of the sciences.  A recap of the competition and overview of each proposal will be the topic of a future entry on this page.

So what will a successful proposal look like?  It will call for new ways of teaching that are research-rich and skills-laden, and ask for formation of spaces that enable these changes.  It will focus on what a McMurry graduate should know and have the ability to do to be successful in the workforce and professions of 2023.  It will broaden research opportunities for faculty and their students so that students are citizens of science rather than tourists.  It takes a first bold step on the journey from the past perspectives of science and spaces where they are taught into science for tomorrow’s student and professional in an ever-changing world.

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July 1 Update

by gwilson on Jul.01, 2009, under A Day in the Life...

bims-lc1We’re entering the mid-summer period where the wind-down from the spring semester collides head-on with the spool-up for the fall semester.  Things are busy on campus.  Here’s a sampling:

  • The first SOAR is over and the second one is next week.  SOARs are events for incoming students to go through orientation and get their class schedules worked out for the fall.  We had 120 students make McMurry their college home a week or so ago.  Over 100 more incoming freshmen are scheduled to be on campus next week.  They are the smart ones, as waiting for the third SOAR or to register at the beginning of the semester means risking closed classes and schedule conflicts.  I mentioned in a comment that roughly 10% of students at the first SOAR signed up for the initial BIMS course.  Looks like it will be a great start for Year Two of BIMS.
  • Summer research is well underway.  Dr. Paul Pyenta has been working with a Welch Summer Research student to clone gfp protein into a plasmid compatible with Bacillus thuringiensis.  They’ve been using the new centrifuge mentioned in a recent post, but found the need to spin 250 ml bottles at a high speed than is possible with the swinging bucket rotor we got with it.  Another centrifuge and modified procedure will have to suffice until we can purchase another rotor more suitable to the speeds required by the original protocol.
  • Dr. Pyenta ordered a new digital gel documentation system today that will allow clear photography of gels for publication and presentation.  This is a valuable piece of equipment for helping students build their biological portfolios – artifacts from their hands-on lab work will be collected and saved to document their proficiency.
  • Dr. Tom Benoit taught Microbiology in Summer 1 and now is working on a proposal for the lab renovation competition McMurry will hold in August.  Science faculty were encouraged to propose innovative spaces for teaching and research for the competition, which will see the winning entry adopted to guide a lab renovation project to take place in Summer 2010.  Two labs and support spaces will be renovated to provide a model of future spaces to be seen in the Finch-Gray Science Center.  BIMS intends to have the best proposal for consideration.
  • Dr. Heidi DiFrancesca has spent time this summer traveling.  No word yet whether she will join her husband Mark on a trip to Japan on behalf of their church.  One additional task Dr. D will accomplish this summer is purchase of the next important pieces of teaching/research equipment:  real-time PCR, Nanodrop spectrophotometer, new tissue culture hoods, and more.
  • Dr. Larry Sharp has been busy overseeing applications to health professions schools – medical and dental, mainly.  He us also teaching both A&P I and II this summer, all while designing the new Pre-Health Professions Seminar series to be taken by our pre-health students.
  • Dr. Gary Wilson has been juggling administrative duties with an overhaul of his microbiology course and some development work for his software package VirtualUnknown(TM) Microbiology.  A new totally online version of the software is in development.
  • BIMS faculty plan to hold a retreat this summer to assess what worked this year and what needs “tweaking” as the BIMS program enters its second year.  One item for discussion is how we can intentionally link courses together through common projects so that we work together in research as our students learn.  We got a great start on that this year, but more can be done.

No doubt, it is a busy summer in Abilene!

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