ComGen is a Community of Practice

Originally, Dr. Gita Bangera was teaching an upper level laboratory course –BIO 275 as an adjunct faculty at Bellevue College and came up with the idea to teach in authentic research based lab course utilizing connections and ideas from her graduate school experience.  This course came to be called “Sequencing the Genome of Pseudomonas fluorescens L5.1-96” and is connected to an ongoing USDA research project. She sought grant funding to make this course possible and received a Course Curriculum and Lab Improvement grant from the National Science Foundation. Because the course and initial pilots were a great success, she received a second National Science Foundation grant, Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM, to scale this course up to non-majors and pre- allied health biology courses and widely disseminate this teaching pedagogy and course curriculum to regional community colleges. Gita and her core team trained community college professors at 21 different institutions to implement this curriculum. Through the willingness of faculty at different institutions to implement this curriculum as the laboratory component of their courses and the constant improvement of this curriculum, it has evolved into a plug and play course that can be implemented at any community college into the standard Biology curriculum.

This formed the foundation of our community of practice, however in the past three years, faculty have taken this pedagogy and have developed new authentic research courses around various themes and projects that reflect their interests and expertise. Now, ComGen has evolved into an extensive network of faculty who are co-creating and implementing authentic research courses across regional community colleges. Our faculty utilize the skills, experience, and knowledge of their peers as their greatest resource for improving STEM education. Risk taking, trust in student ability, community curriculum building, and faculty peer mentoring, training and recruitment are consistent themes in our history of evolution. This story and background are captured in the graphic below.

Picture of Comgen History

Support for the phase 1 project, “ComGen: The Community College Genomics Research Initiative”, and the phase two project, “ComGen Authentic Research Experiences (C-ARE): Dissemination, Enrichment and Expansion Project” was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Course Curriculum and Lab Improvement (CCLI) grant and the  Transforming Undergraduate Education in Stem ( TUES # 1225857) grant .

Last Updated June 12, 2018