Center for Biology Education
Our history dates back to 1988/89 with the founding of the Center for Biology Education, a cross-campus unit within the Provost’s office focusing on improving biology education. We have gone through multiple transformations over the years in response to campus needs but we have always remained a cross-campus unit, serving the entire university as well as the surrounding community.
Institute for Cross-College Biology Education
In 2004/05, the Center became the core entity from which the Institute for Cross–College Biology Education was created. The Institute was an experiment to combine several biology-related programs whose audiences went beyond any single school/college. A major grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2010 allowed an expansion of programming for first-year students in the biological sciences. Our name was changed in 2011 to the Institute for Biology Education to better reflect our entire mission, both across campus and beyond.
In 2013/14, a review of the Institute and its largest academic program found that although our experiment had been very successful in some areas, the Institute needed changes. Responsibility for academic programs like undergraduate majors and course sequences was reassigned to units within schools/colleges. The core programs and initiatives that had grown from the original Center for Biology Education were recognized as making significant contributions, particularly with regard to facilitating cross-campus collaboration and expanding access to science education for groups underrepresented in science. To support further development of this work, our mission was expanded beyond the biological sciences to all of STEM. To match the mission, our name was changed to WISCIENCE, the Wisconsin Institute for Science Education and Community Engagement.
Today, WISCIENCE continues as an incubator for boundary-crossing solutions that advance STEM education and outreach and broaden engagement in STEM. Our mission is to enhance engagement and strengthen success in STEM through equitable and inclusive initiatives, collaborations, service, and scholarship.