A review of the University’s science programs concluded that science majors needed more entrepreneurship initiatives, flipped classroom structures for large lectures and better advising to finish on time.
The QEP committee recommended more creation spaces, such as the 3D printer in the Kenan Science Library, to foster innovation in the sciences.
Data on high-structure active learning environments, like flipped classrooms, have shown to improve achievement in minority students, transfer students and first-generation students.
“Flipped classrooms have made minority students feel much more welcome because the groups they are put in allow them to get to know people they otherwise wouldn’t meet,” said Leslie Parise, who serves on the QEP committee as well as Faculty Executive Committee.
Some committee members were surprised to learn that students at UNC are limited to eight semesters before they must graduate. Students can petition for a ninth semester, but they are only allowed one major if they take this extra time. Transfer students, first generation students and minority students struggled to complete the requirements in many science departments.
With this in mind, committee member and anthropology chairman Vin Steponaitis warned of adding on requirements for science students.
"Adding interdisciplinary programs would be great, but we can't add them at the cost of students graduating on time," Steponaitis said.
Committee members recommended expanding and perfecting programs already in existence at the University, such as the writing center, the interdisciplinary English composition and rhetoric program and undergraduate research resources.
“A lot of these programs can be achieved by fine-tuning current infrastructure. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for everything,” said faculty chairman Bruce Cairns.