In 2000‐01, WISCIENCE (then known as the Center for Biology Education), in collaboration with the College of Letters & Sciences, offered the first SyMBiosis (Science and Math for Biology Students) seminar for faculty from Chemistry, Math, Physics, Statistics, and the biological sciences. The discussion focused on how to prepare students interested in the biological sciences in the foundational sciences and math needed for modern research.
The dialogue led to the collaborative development of biology first‐year interest groups (BIGs), which linked a case‐based topical biology seminar to chemistry and calculus courses. WISCIENCE staff facilitated the development process and acquired NSF funding for the project. BIGs were soon institutionalized through integration with the campus‐wide First‐Year Interest Groups (FIGs) program. WISCIENCE continues its involvement with and support of these BioFIGs (see Exploring Biology course description).