Amherst, MA, United States
Amherst, MA, United States

Hampshire College is a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. It was opened in 1970 as an experiment in alternative education, in association with four other colleges in the Pioneer Valley: Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Together they are now known as the Five Colleges, or the Five College Area.The College is widely known for its alternative curriculum, focus on portfolios rather than distribution requirements, and reliance on narrative evaluations instead of grades and GPAs. In some fields, it is among the top undergraduate institutions in percentage of graduates who enroll in graduate school. Fifty-six percent of its alumni have at least one graduate degree and it is ranked 30th among all US colleges in the percentage of its graduates who go on to attain a doctorate degree . Wikipedia.

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D'Avanzo C.,Hampshire College
CBE Life Sciences Education | Year: 2013

The scale and importance of Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action challenges us to ask fundamental questions about widespread transformation of college biology instruction. I propose that we have clarified the "vision" but lack research-based models and evidence needed to guide the "change." To support this claim, I focus on several key topics, including evidence about effective use of active-teaching pedagogy by typical faculty and whether certain programs improve students' understanding of the Vision and Change core concepts. Program evaluation is especially problematic. While current education research and theory should inform evaluation, several prominent biology faculty-development programs continue to rely on self-reporting by faculty and students. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty-development overviews can guide program design. Such studies highlight viewing faculty members as collaborators, embedding rewards faculty value, and characteristics of effective faculty-development learning communities. A recent National Research Council report on discipline-based STEM education research emphasizes the need for long-term faculty development and deep conceptual change in teaching and learning as the basis for genuine transformation of college instruction. Despite the progress evident in Vision and Change, forward momentum will likely be limited, because we lack evidence-based, reliable models for actually realizing the desired "change." © C. D'Avanzo.

Partan S.R.,Hampshire College
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology | Year: 2013

The study of multimodal communication has become an active and vibrant field. This special issue of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology brings together new developments in this rapidly expanding area. In this final contribution to the special issue, I look to the future and discuss ten questions in need of further work, touching on issues ranging from theoretical modeling and the evolution of behavior to molecular mechanisms and the development of behavior. In particular, I emphasize that the use of multimodal communication allows animals to switch between sensory channels when one channel becomes too noisy, and suggest that a better understanding of this process may help us both to understand the evolution of multisensory signaling and to predict the success of species facing environmental changes that affect signaling channels, such as urbanization and climate change. An expanded section is included on the effects of climate change on animal communication across sensory channels, urging researchers to pursue this topic due to the rapidity with which the environment is currently transforming. © 2013 The Author(s).

Fried M.G.,Hampshire College
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2013

Since the US Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion(Roe v Wade), there has been a constant and broad attack on all aspects of women's reproductive and parenting rights. The consequences have been devastating, especially for women whose race, age, legal, or economic status makes them targets of discrimination. At the same time, these threats have galvanized activism. There has been tremendous growth in the number of organizations and coalitions working to protect abortion rights, as well as advocating a broader reproductive rights, health, and justice agenda. This article describes the major activist trends in this period, focusing primarily on those that have been less visible. Documenting activist history allows us to draw inspiration and important lessons for the future. Copyright © 2012 by the American Public Health Association®.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 196.28K | Year: 2016

An award is made to Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) to acquire and install an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). The new generation ICP-MS will make possible a wide range of research projects, particularly focused on pollution and nutrition, while training a diverse group of undergraduate students in interdisciplinary research. Some of the advances that will benefit the general public include the identification and quantification of toxic trace metal pollutants such as arsenic, antimony, cadmium, and lead in present and past environments and analysis of the tissue-level uptake and incorporation of nutritionally important elements such as zinc and iron in human teeth and hair. ICP-MS will also be used to develop novel methods to track the fate, transport, and translocation of toxic metal contaminants and metal nano particles in the environment and in biological tissues. These analytical chemical advances will facilitate better environmental monitoring methods for water and food systems that will improve public health and will support food security. The ICP-MS will allow the researchers to engage and support new and existing research partnerships across the Five College Consortium, as well as to enhance collaborations with broader regional and international academic institutions to address larger environmental health research questions of national and global interest.

This project is driven by a team of core faculty, who seek to achieve three planned undergraduate research and curricula advances: (1) incorporation of the ICP-MS, with accompanying advances in atomic spectrometry techniques [laser ablation (LA)-ICP-MS, ion chromatography (IC)-ICP-MS], as part of the proposed interdisciplinary research projects; (2) expansion of the scope of undergraduate interdisciplinary research projects based on the ability of ICP-MS to investigate possible toxic metalloid adsorption properties of clay supported nano zero valent ion particles, the fate and transport properties of engineered nano particles (ENP), tissue level distributions of toxic metals in archived tissues of teeth and hair to unravel past exposure events, elemental bioimaging of staple food grains to gain insight on nutritional benefits and health risks at tissue level, the geo-microbiology of rock varnishes; and (3) incorporation of state-of-the-art atomic spectrometry methods across the undergraduate curriculum, including within courses and independent projects. Proposed projects center on analytical atomic spectrometry, analytical method development, and validation. The developed methods will be applied in a variety of innovative interdisciplinary research projects conducted by student-faculty research teams that will advance the environmental health monitoring efforts. Major findings and data from research will be presented by students and faculty at national and international meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals. As well, the results will be disseminated to the public via local outreach efforts and popular media forums.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 36.40K | Year: 2012

Bolivia adopted a new constitution in 2009; the new constitution provides an opportunity to analyze
how people understand a constitution, and how a national constitution intersects with international
legal frameworks. The workshop is guided by the questions of whether or not and how Bolivians,
as they go through constitutional change will propose alternatives to globally prevalent intellectual
and cultural property frameworks. These global regimes too often discussed only at international and
national levels--have fallen short as regards recognition of collective creativity, access in unequal
social terrains, and resolution of state-indigenous contradictions about heritage.

Working from the ground up, the workshop will initiate a dialogue
about indigenous rights and cultural property that does not dismiss economic motivations,
considers a multiplicity of proprietary systems, addresses already identified social values of
creativity and acknowledgement, and locates cultural property claims in relation to other local
indigenous struggles. As the poorest and most indigenous country of South America, Bolivia poses
pressing local and globally germane challenges for intellectual property, which in Bolivia is viewed by some as an
external legal mechanism designed to deny majority access to knowledge, and by others as a
route out of the nationʼs economic woes.

This project will facilitate discussion among Bolivians through (a) an intensive four-day participatory
workshop on cultural and intellectual property involving twenty participants who do creative
performance work, represent indigenous organizations, or work in local media, and (b) a mediabased
dissemination program. Principal investigators from the U.S. and the U.K. and two
Bolivian research assistants will draw on collaborative ethnographic methods to coordinate the
workshop and media-based dialogues.

Workshop proceedings will be summarized for international circulation through a Spanish-English
bilingual website. Before and after the workshop, television and radio discussions (sometimes in
indigenous languages) will further disseminate these conversations among Boliviaʼs poorer urban
and rural populations where Internet access is limited. Through the workshopʼs activities, local
voices rarely heard in the international context will be brought into broader global debates, and
Bolivians will be provided with greater access to diverse perspectives on cultural property.
Through the website and subsequent reports, connections will be sought with other international
and national entities engaged in these issues.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: IUSE | Award Amount: 154.37K | Year: 2016

The main goal of this cognitive neuroscience project is to develop, implement, and disseminate best practices in cognitive electrophysiology education for undergraduates with the aim of increasing the quality and number of education and training opportunities for undergraduates, and increasing research outcomes that involve undergraduate co-authors. The three specific goals are: (1) Develop open-access curricula for cognitive electrophysiology that employ evidence-based practices. (2) Create an open-access database of results from 6 classic event-related potential (ERP) experiments that have been optimized in terms of best practices in experimental design and produce highly reliable results. These data will form the basis of class activities, lab training, and independent research and will include a variety of individual difference measures that can also be used for student-generated hypothesis testing. (3) Engage in ongoing improvement of the learning materials through active engagement with a 9-member faculty learning community of users and students active in this field. This nascent community will be expanded by hosting a series of yearly meetings at a major conference that will be open to all interested faculty and students and by including undergraduate research assistants in the curriculum design and research activities.

This project would address the need for curricular materials in a burgeoning field of research that combines a number of STEM disciplines (biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and electrical engineering) in a focus on cognitive neuroscience. One cognitive neuroscience measurement technique that is particularly conducive to undergraduate learning is cognitive electrophysiology (electroencephalography/ event-related potentials; EEG/ERP). EEG/ERP studies examine changes in scalp-recorded brain electrical activity corresponding to cognitive processing in real time. EEG refers to the dynamic, ongoing electrical activity recorded during cognitive processing. ERP refers to the most commonly used method of electrophysiological research, relying on signal averaging to extract the activity reliably linked with specific sensory stimuli and/or motor responses (the electrical potentials that are related to specific events). Cognitive electrophysiology is well suited for undergraduate research because the equipment and supplies are relatively inexpensive and the opportunities for learning are high.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBUST INTELLIGENCE | Award Amount: 418.90K | Year: 2016

Computer-based problem-solving systems are revolutionizing many areas of science and engineering, with pervasive impacts on economic activity, human health, national security, and the advancement of science. Several of the most powerful and promising approaches to the development of these systems borrow ideas from biology, for example, when artificial neural networks are used to enable computer systems to learn. The processes of random variation and fitness-based selection motivated by biology have been particularly useful in several applications, but they have not yet produced the kind of radical innovations that are characteristic of living systems. In this project, key elements of genetic programming, such as the processes governing variation, will themselves be allowed to adapt, with the aim of producing more powerful problem-solving computer systems. These systems may have applications in several areas of science and engineering. The project will be conducted in the context of educational activities that integrate research and education across undergraduate and graduate levels, thereby providing training to a new generation of computational scientists.

The primary goal of the proposed project is to enhance genetic programming technologies in ways that will allow them to more routinely produce more innovative solutions to difficult problems, and to produce systems that perform well in complex environments. The central hypothesis underlying this effort is that the innovating power of biology, and the power of biology to produce robust systems, stems in part from the fact that the adaptive mechanisms of biology themselves adapt. Self-adaptive genetic programming systems, in which the algorithms for variation and selection are themselves subject to variation and selection, have been explored for decades but have only recently begun to show practical promise for solving difficult problems. The proposed project will begin with a promising system of this type and will test it systematically, in order to elucidate general principles that will then be used to develop and apply more refined, adaptive algorithms. Applications ranging from the automatic programming of exercises in a first-semester programming textbook to the development of multicellular organisms in a virtual ecosystem will be used to test and demonstrate the systems developed in this project.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INTERDISC TRNG IN BIO & MATH | Award Amount: 181.16K | Year: 2011

This proposal establishes the Four College Biomathematics Consortium: a collaboration among four undergraduate institutions (Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, and Hampshire College) with a long tradition of excellence and a commitment to research-centered education. Two of these institutions are women?s colleges. All four have a demonstrated commitment to expanding opportunities for women, underrepresented groups and first-generation students in scientific fields.

The Consortium will help train the next generation of biomathematicians. A two-year research-intensive program will be developed, building on a strong existing infrastructure for cross-campus collaborations, in which student teams move through a series of curricular offerings and mentored research opportunities. The emphasis throughout is on: a) a succession of developmentally appropriate courses and research opportunities; b) a team-centered approach that unites student teams and mentoring teams in several multi-year research collaborations; and c) the creation of a multi-layered cohort of biomathematics students at various stages of training. Led by mentoring teams composed of both life scientists and mathematicians, the students will explore problems at all scales of biological organization, ranging from the intricacies of protein folding to the complexities of water and material flows in forest ecosystems. These projects share a unifying theme,the consideration of potential and realized shape spaces, and emphasize geometric approaches to the exploration of biological problems.

The program advances the national STEM agenda by training 50 undergraduates in biomathematics and by generating online pedagogical materials (curricula, exercises and training modules) that can be exploited by the broader community. The program will also serve as a potential exportable model for multi-institutional collaboration in the training of undergraduates in biomathematics and other emerging scientific fields.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SPECIAL PROJECTS - CCF | Award Amount: 42.00K | Year: 2013

This project is funded as part of the United States-Israel Collaboration in Computer Science (USICCS) program. Through this program, NSF and the United States - Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) jointly support collaborations among US-based researchers and Israel-based researchers.

This project will examine and extend computational techniques that allow computers to out-perform humans on certain classes of difficult problems, some of which have practical applications across many areas of science and engineering. The techniques to be studied, which are modeled on biological processes of evolution, have already been shown to produce human-competitive performance in areas ranging from pure mathematics to quantum system design, and from game-playing systems to software engineering and debugging. In this project the co-PIs will collaborate to characterize the application areas in which these human-competitive successes have been achieved, along with the specific techniques that were used in each case. The project will use these characterizations to guide improvements to the techniques and applications to new problems.

The initial data for the study will be taken from the winners of the of the Human Competitive Results Competition that has been held annually since 2004 at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. Areas of anticipated application work include software engineering, for example for automatic program synthesis and repair, where early successes and the scale of the potential applications indicate substantial promise. The long-term potential of work in this area is for computers to automatically generate useful software, for many applications of scientific or social significance, that would be prohibitively difficult or expensive for human programmers to produce. The project will be conducted with undergraduates and graduate students and will also thereby help to train future innovators in computer science.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 409.55K | Year: 2013

This project investigates the relationship between elementary-secondary students information technology skills, their success in an inquiry ocean science curriculum designed to target those skills, and their understanding of the new characteristics of 21st century science. It is concerned with the design of a curriculum and its impact on students of high compared with low digital literacy. It also examines student engagement with the various curriculum elements and their progress with conceptual understanding of science topics, belief and understandings about the nature of science, and growth of digital literacy skills.

The project creates new measurement techniques for understanding the relationship between technology skills that students bring with them to the classroom, the science curriculum they encounter, their understandings of the nature of science, and their digital literacy. The project intends to develop a digital skills assessment tool to capture student action in collaborating with virtual environments, using social information, and developing skills with computing.

The investigators will conduct an analysis of video and audio recordings of student interviews, classroom observations, and field-trip conversations of students. The analysis will draw associations between class-based learning and field trip-based learning. The study will measure changes in students epistemic commitment to learning science and science careers as intended by the ITEST program; that is, do the students increase their belief that they are capable of learning the science material as it is found in nature and presented in class.

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