SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
WORKSHOP ON A QUANTITATIVE SCIENCES
CURRICULUM FOR LIFE SCIENCE STUDENTS*
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE FEBRUARY 6-8, 1992
SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS:
1. It is not sufficient to isolate quantitative components of
the curriculum in a few courses on quantitative topics, but
rather the importance of quantitative approaches should be
emphasized throughout the undergraduate curriculum of life
science students. This implies that courses typically
considered part of the biology curriculum should contain
quantitative components appropriate for the topics addressed
in the course. Thus we should encourage the introduction of
quantitative skills at all levels in the life science
curricula.
2. As a means to foster the inclusion of more quantitative
topics in the curriculum, it is proposed that a Primer of
Quantitative Biology be developed to be used in conjunction
with the typical General Biology sequence included in most
life science curricula, with appropriate quantitative examples
developed for each section of the course. This Primer would be
at the level of high school mathematics, but would focus on
examples of non-intuitive results of biological importance
derived from quantitative approaches.
3. Exploratory data analysis should be included in several
ways as part of a life science curriculum. This can be done as
(i) part of laboratory exercises within a biology course; (ii)
a short-course available for credit ; and/or (iii) a formal
biometry course. The last option should be constructed around
key biological questions, rather than statistical methods.
4. An entry-level quantitative skills course should be
developed as a specialized year-long sequence for life science
students. Discrete methods should be the first topics covered
in this course, followed by the calculus, but the course
should have a problem-solving emphasis throughout.
5. Upper-division modeling and biological data analysis
courses should be encouraged, with extensive use of computers
an integral part of such courses. Modules, based on diverse
biological topics, for use in illustrating key quantitative
concepts should be developed for these courses as well as for
the entry-level course.
* Supported by the National Science Foundation's Undergraduate
Course and Curriculum Program through grant #USE-9150354 to
the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
For further information about the Workshop, or any aspect of
this Curriculum Development Project, contact:
Dr. Louis Gross
Mathematics Department
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-1300
(615)974-4295
(615)974-2461 (Secretary)
(615)974-6576 (FAX)
gross@math.utk.edu (INTERNET)
gross@utkvx (BITNET)