Bellevue College Names Dean of Undergraduate Research
Dr. Gita Bangera will oversee development of Undergraduate Research Laboratory
Bellevue College has named Dr. Gita Bangera as Dean of Undergraduate Research. In this newly created position, Bangera will report to the Vice President of Instruction and support campus undergraduate research efforts through grant-funded projects, curriculum development, faculty support, and partnerships with other research labs, industry and community organizations.
“This position is designed to enhance and further the college’s existing program in undergraduate research, pioneered by Gita, including the creation and oversight of a new Center for Undergraduate Research, Innovation, and Experiential Learning, which will have a campus-wide approach to infusing research experiences into a wide variety of curriculum,” said Bellevue College President Dr. David Rule. “We couldn’t be happier to have Gita serving in this position – she is exactly the type of faculty that we need to grow into our future!”
Bangera, a prolific genomics researcher, is the driving force behind Bellevue College’s participation in ComGen, the Community College Genomics Research Initiative, which Science magazine identified as one of the pioneering community college research projects in the nation. Students perform original research by sequencing the genome of a bacterium that fights a wheat fungus. They also analyze primary research articles and interact frequently with scientists.
“Bellevue College is becoming known as a national leader in providing research opportunities for first and second-year community college students,” said Rule. “Our own data, which is strongly supported by information received from local employers and national organizations such as the National Science Foundation, show that this type of hands-on, original research is one of the best ways to significantly improve student success and retention.”
In her new role, Bangera will develop the Bellevue College Center for Undergraduate Research, Innovation, and Experiential Learning from the ground up – including physical planning, coordinating faculty research projects, coordinating and developing undergraduate research projects, developing curriculum to support undergraduate research classes and programs, and identifying funding and partnership opportunities on both the local and national level. Bangera will also serve as the college’s primary liaison with the National Science Foundation.
“President Rule has shown visionary leadership and commitment to the success of the students at Bellevue College in setting up the first ever undergraduate research program at a Community College by creating this position,” Bangera said. “I am excited to work with my forward-thinking and dedicated fellow faculty to create a program that will be a national model for bringing undergraduate education into the 21st century.”
Bangera is one of 40 nationwide Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE) leadership fellows – a program initiated by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute for General Medical Sciences/National Institute of Health (NIGMS/NIH) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to revolutionize U.S. Life Science education. Bangera also participates in CURE-NET, a nationwide faculty consortium developing classroom-based undergraduate research experiences
Bangera came to Bellevue College in 2004 as a full-time instructor, becoming Chair of Life Sciences in 2009 and Assistant Dean of Science Division in 2012. She also serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at Washington State University.
Bangera received her Masters of Science from Carnegie Mellon University and her Ph.D. from Washington State University. She completed her postdoctoral work at Harvard University Medical School, University of Washington Medical School and University of Copenhagen.