Professor Vigdis Vandvik
Excellence in education: Natural selection or deliberate breeding?
Education is a game involving at least two players: the student and the teacher. And the subject matter, in our case biology, is the board across which the game is played. But what defines success in the educational game? ETCS production? Learning outcomes? Internalisation of the professional culture? Personal development? And who is the lead player? On one hand, we are encouraged to focus on the learner perspective – allowing students to take responsibility for their own learning. At the same time, higher education is becoming increasingly governed by regulations, rights, and requirements. Can these drivers be reconciled?
At the bioCEED Centre for Excellence in Biology Education, established in 2014, we aim, broadly, to support our students’ development into qualified and confident professional biologists. I will give some examples of how we work with the subject matter, with student culture and with teacher culture towards this goal.
Vigdis Vandvik is Professor of Ecology and Director of the bioCEED Centre for Excellence in Biology Education at UIB. She teachers biology and ecology at the BSc to PhD level, combining theory with field and lab experience. Her research focuses on the impact of global change drivers, especially climate and land-use change, on the biodiversity and ecology of natural ecosystems. This field-based research program lends itself to research-education interaction and students and interns from more than 14 nationalities have participated in her research projects over the years. Since the center started in 2014, bioCEED has worked towards building a professional culture of teaching and learning in our professors and students, towards developing physical and digital infrastructure for biology education, and towards bringing together theory, practical skills training, and societal relevance in our educations
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