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Los Medanos College

Los Medanos College is committed to providing exceptional learning experiences for our STEM students.  Our MESA program, Department of Education HSI Title V STEM grant, and NSF S-STEMgrant provide wonderful opportunities and support for our students as they complete courses on our main campus in Pittsburg, CA, or in the newly renovated lab at our satellite campus in Brentwood, CA.


We are excited to provide undergraduate research experiences for our students.  Through the efforts of our dedicated team and campus support, we hope to accomplish the following goals:


     1. By Spring 2019, every STEM student completing their major requirements at Los Medanos will participate in at least 1                  undergraduate research experience in their major discipline.


    2. Offer a 2 unit research course in multiple disciplines by Summer 2019.


We are piloting research projects and other inquiry-based approaches in specific MathematicsChemistryand Biology course sections during the 2014-2015 academic year.  Participating faculty will share their experiences with others during campus workshops and provide professional development to their peers so they will have the tools necessary to incorporate these experiences into additional course sections during the next academic year.  By sharing examples of these engaging approaches and providing additional support, we hope to recruit additional faculty representing diverse STEM disciplines to participate as well.

We will update our page soon to include some examples of the projects we are implementing as we integrate research into our STEM curriculum.  We are currently implementing CURE in our Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics courses for Spring 2015 as well as a Biology SURE during the Summer 2015 session.

For further information about undergraduate research at Los Medanos College, please contact Danielle Liubicich (, Professor of Biological Science, at any time.


We are currently exploring mechanisms to incorporate course-embedded research experiences into all our bioscience curriculum.  To date, our efforts have focused on the biology majors sequence.  Our course-embedded research approaches include:

  1. modifying current labs to promote more active learning experiences for students (for example, instead of assigning all conditions, allowing them to setup experimental and control conditions they develop)

  2. students develop their own independent research projects focusing on local ecological issues (project includes submission of a proposal, completion of student-designed the experiments, and presentation of their data to the class)

  3. students participate in an ongoing course project testing various food samples for genetically modified organisms (results will be collected by students each semester and added to the course data set)



In Summer 2014 we offered a paid summer research experience for students that culminated in anUndergraduate Research Symposium on campus.  We hope to continue to offer these opportunities, but this model of hiring student workers is not currently sustainable.  During Summer 2015, we will pilot a summer course to make a more sustainable summer research experience for students.  The course is called Introduction to Bioscience Research and will teach students valuable skills and techniques while they conduct independent research projects.

Projects in Biology

Projects in Chemistry


We are currently piloting course-embedded research experiences in two Chemistry courses:

  • Chem26 (General Chemistry) - Student will define an area of inquiry, design experiments, and analyze data to offer conclusions about a chosen kinetic system.


  • Chem29 (Organic Chemistry) - Student designed multistep synthesis and analysis of organic molecules. ​

Vision and Change Implementation


Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum

  • Introduce the scientific process to students early, and integrate it into all undergraduate biology courses.

  • Relate abstract concepts in biology to real-world examples on a regular basis, and make biology content relevant by presenting problems in a real-life context.

  • Develop lifelong science-learning competencies.

  • Introduce fewer concepts, but present them in greater depth. Less really is more.

  • Stimulate the curiosity students have for learning about the natural world.

  • Demonstrate both the passion scientists have for their discipline and their delight in sharing their understanding of the world with students.

Focus on Student ­Centered Learning

  • Use multiple modes of instruction in addition to the traditional lecture.

  • Ensure that undergraduate biology courses are active, outcome oriented, inquiry driven, and relevant.

  • Facilitate student learning within a cooperative context.

  • Introduce research experiences as an integral component of biology education for all students, regardless of their major.

  • Integrate multiple forms of assessment to track student learning.

  • Give students ongoing, frequent, and multiple forms of feedback on their progress.


Promote a Campus wide Commitment to Change

  • Mobilize all stakeholders, from students to administrators, to commit to improving the quality of undergraduate biology education.

  • Support the development of a true community of scholars dedicated to advancing the life sciences and the science of teaching.

  • Provide teaching support and training for all faculty, but especially postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty, who are in their formative years as teachers.


Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change

  • Promote more concept-oriented undergraduate biology courses, and help all students learn how to integrate facts into larger conceptual contexts.

  • Provide all biology faculty with access to the teaching and learning research referenced throughout this report, and encourage its application when developing courses.

  • Encourage all biologists to move beyond the “depth versus breadth” debate. Less really is more.

High Impact Practices Implementation

Common Intellectual Experiences
Learning Communities
Collaborative Assignments and Projects
Undergraduate Research
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
Capstone Courses and Projects

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