The Harker Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories provide an innovative, interactive learning environment for our students. Since its inception 5 years ago, we have been using student-centered problem-based learning strategies to educate students across scientific disciplines.
In our first five years, we trained more than 2,400 students in an Interdisciplinary Biology and Chemistry curriculum using evidence-based teaching techniques that provide hands-on experiential learning. This means that students develop their own questions, refine them into testable hypotheses, and design their own experiments in a safe, fun, and interactive environment. Our goal is to develop lasting scientific reasoning skills in our students and career professionals. And our methods are working! Our research shows that students who have taken our interdisciplinary Biology and Chemistry courses experience increased success and retention in successive advanced-level courses, such as Organic Chemistry, compared to their counterparts from previous years who experienced more traditional methods of instruction.
Our students have won coveted prizes (including two Plastino Scholarships!) and presented their research at national conferences (UMBC, ASBMB, Experimental Biology). Our interdisciplinary learning environment is not limited to Biology and Chemistry: We provide interdisciplinary eduction in the areas of physical science, education, and citizen science, just to name a few. This is just the beginning: our Preceptors collaborate with faculty and departments to develop new curricula in currently offered courses and pilot new courses.
Importantly, our service to students does not stop in the classroom. To ensure our students have access to the finest resources to promote their academic success, we have designated The ISLL Learning Center to provide academic assistance and support for University of Delaware students. Here, biology, chemistry, and physics graduate teaching assistants host scheduled office hours and we offer FREE drop-in peer tutoring service throughout the fall and spring semesters.
We are also proud to host unique public events (Darwin Days, Nobel Symposium, Student Summer Research Symposium) in our commons area. Please come and experience these events with us!
Donna S. Woulfe, PhD
Interim Director, Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories