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Grant designed to keep future scientists from changing majors


KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- They hope to put more fun in the fundamentals of biology, and generate more interest in the introductory classes in college to keep students who sign up for science and math from switching majors.

Currently 60% of the students change their curriculum because the introductory courses are usually delivered in big impersonal lecture halls and it’s just not engaging.

WMU has just won a 1.4 million dollar competitive grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, to reverse that trend.

That means smaller classes that allow students to pursue courses that are relevant to them, while still learning the basics they will need in more advanced courses.

"We're really seeking to establish transformative programs that help students integrate their acquired knowledge into a bigger whole," says Associate Professor Renee Schwartz. . "That bigger whole is all about passion and commitment to the discipline of science."

203 research universities were invited to compete and only 37 won grants.