The University of Michigan Biological Station is about to dramatically expand its academic offerings, its connections to the Ann Arbor campus, and number and diversity of students served.

U-M Provost Martha Pollack approved the station’s “Transforming Learning for a Third Century” program proposal Tuesday. The award totals nearly $1.5 million over five years and is funded through the Office of the Provost and the LSA Dean’s Office. In addition, Director Knute Nadelhoffer and the UMBS External Advisory Board have set a goal of raising an additional $500,000 in scholarship support from the station’s donor community. This will ensure that students can participate in these new courses regardless of their financial status.

“This is great news for the station and for the university as a whole,” said Nadelhoffer. “We will be able to bring the benefits of the field science approach to classes and students across the campus.”

According to an article in the University Record,  this proposal involving six U-M schools and colleges is in response to the long-held understanding among them that the answers to many of the environmental and public health issues of today will take engagement from all of their disciplines.

The program centers on the development of new courses which will offer a component held on the Ann Arbor campus and a linked field component at the Biological Station. The courses will focus on different environmental problems.

Students from across disciplines will become grounded in relevant background and theory during a winter semester course in Ann Arbor. Then they will come to the station for a field component involving data collection, analysis and synthesis.

“We already have commitments for collaboration from departments, schools and colleges focused on social sciences, the arts, policy, design, engineering and environmental law,” said Nadelhoffer.

The station anticipates soliciting its first round of course proposals in 2016 and running the first courses in 2017.

Read more about the Third Century Initiative / Transforming Learning for a Third Century Program

University Record article

Frontiers master's student Chau Ho spends the summer at UMBS. Image credit: Alicia Farmer.