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UMass Boston Approves Biomimicry Course for Science Distribution Requirement

Posted by Gretchen Hooker on September 20, 2012

Students in Anamarija Frankic's class help restore shellfish habitat in Boston Harbor.

Guest post by Dr. Anamarija Frankic, Biomimicry Fellow

I am excited to share some great news with the biomimicry education community!  The biomimicry course that I have taught as an elective at UMass Boston for the last two years has now been approved as a science distribution requirement by our Faculty Council. This action officially recognizes Introduction to Biomimicry as a science course in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education.

For the past two years my course has been offered through the University College, instead of my home department in Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences. This was mainly due to old structures that are hard to change. However, I was able to present the Faculty Council with a compelling justification for biomimicry in science education – not just for science majors but for all students, as a general education course – and now the Dean of the College of Science and Math has become very supportive.

The decision of the Council was made based on my proposal that the course satisfies the General Education science distribution requirement by demonstrating the connection between science, nature, technology and social concerns and employing multiple hands-on, inquiry-based components in which students observe, analyze and apply natural models to solve problems. Success stories from past students – many of whom claimed that biomimicry changed their lives and what they wanted to do – helped to bolster these arguments as well.

Although a common sense, biomimicry still needs to become widely accepted as part of the science curriculum in K-12 and universities. I encourage all of you to work with your fellow faculty and administration to include biomimicry courses in general science education.  If it is of use, I am happy to share further details about my course and the approval process. My contact information can be found in my BEN user profile (please log in to view).

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