The BioCommons Project
What's Going On at the BioCommons?
Drop-In Research Mentoring: Drop in at Steenbock (study room 108) between 6 and 8pm on any Tuesday or Wednesday (except spring break) and talk to a peer mentor with undergraduate research experience in biology.
- Creating Community Partnerships: The Wisconsin Idea, Wed, Feb 26, 3:30-4:30 pm (room 340)
- Considering Your Audience: Communication and Informal Education, Wed, Mar 12, 3:30-4:30 pm (lower level)
Get Involved in the BioCommons Project!
The Institute for Biology Education, Steenbock Library, and the Office of Undergraduate Advising have launched a joint Educational Innovation project to create a community and learning space for bioscience students across campus—a BioCommons. The space will be a welcoming home base where students can connect with each other, as well as a central gateway to the biosciences where they can find information, get engaged in high-impact learning experiences, access support services, and integrate their experiences into a meaningful whole.
Existing services and programming from Steenbock Library and the Institute for Biology Education will be incorporated into the space, and it will also offer a potential satellite location for programs from around campus. The Office of Undergraduate Advising will coordinate the advising services in the space. Networks of faculty and staff who provide programming and services across campus will be built to facilitate information exchange, coordination, efficiency, and collaborative innovation, and new programs will be developed in partnership as needs are identified.
The physical location of the space will be at Steenbock Library, and there will also be an online presence, both for information and community building. “Steenbock is a terrific central location for community building,” says Institute for Biology Education Interim Director Janet Branchaw. “They have wonderful facilities and services. And all three primary partners in the project share a cross-campus vision and a student-centered approach. We all want to bring people together and make information and opportunities more accessible.”
Preliminary plans for the BioCommons emerged from a series of cross-campus conversations focused on connecting bioscience students with beyond-the-classroom learning experiences like leadership, public service, research, and international study. The basic framework of the project was outlined by a cross-campus committee, and broader input is continuously being sought as the project moves into its next phases.
Two Town Hall meetings were held in November/December 2012 to gather feedback from the UW–Madison community, and a series of student focus groups were held in 2012 and 2013.
The space is envisioned as an endeavor that will benefit everyone involved. Steenbock Library Interim Director Lisa Wettleson is excited about how the project will enhance the Library’s ability to serve students into the future. “We are delighted to join the growing number of UW–Madison libraries that are partnering to create innovative learning spaces like this in response to student needs in a world of rapid change.”