W.M. Keck Foundation Grant Will Expand Neuroscience Education and Research at UM

A grant recently funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation will help UM expand its neuroscience curriculum and provide exciting new opportunities for both science and non-science students. The project will create a series of classes based in the neurosciences that integrate the knowledge, concepts, and instructional approaches of the Liberal Arts, Education, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) fields. The breadth of neuroscience and ever-increasing relevance to everything from health to education to philosophy to business to law, make it an ideal platform for such integration. Furthermore, UM’s well-recognized strengths in the humanities, arts, and education lend exceptional quality and rigor to the program.

Our intent is to offer students unique interdisciplinary pathways to enhance their educational and research experience at UM (as well as broaden their employment skill set). This effort is campus-wide and represents a collaborative undertaking by three of UM’s most prominent colleges (Humanities & Sciences, Phyllis J. Washington College of Education & Human Science, and Health Professions & Biomedical Sciences) in partnership with UM’s Center for Structural & Functional Neuroscience. Students studying in the Humanities and Education programs will benefit from courses targeting neuroscience and the brain, providing them with critical and unique insight into topics like learning and the changing brain, and the teaching-learning process. Conversely, STEM students will have opportunities to increase their breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills in new General Education courses that engage neuroscience through the content and disciplinary emphases of the Humanities (Language Study, Literature, and Philosophy).

Outcomes are intended to: i) provide a broad and marketable education for non-STEM Humanities and Education students; ii) enhance the critical thinking and communication skills of neuroscience and STEM students; iii) promote interactions between science and non-science majors and iv) offer unique research training opportunities that increase the competitiveness of students for both the private sector and post graduate education. As they are developed, students of all three participating colleges, will be informed regarding the new courses and training opportunities. Initial courses will be open for enrollment beginning fall semester 2019.

About the Keck Foundation

Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The Foundation’s grant making focuses primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering and undergraduate education. The foundation also maintains a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth. For more information visit W.M. Keck Foundation.