Proposing a course
Have an idea for a course that you want to teach? NESCent welcomes ideas and proposals for short courses (1-2 weeks) at the postgraduate level on topics of relevance to synthetic evolutionary science. NESCent provides the venue, budget and logistics support, allowing PIs to focus on the syllabus and format.
We also accept proposals for co-sponsorship of existing short courses on evolutionary topics.
Why would I propose a NESCent Academy course?
Offering a short course through the NESCent Academy has a number of benefits for instructors and the community:
- exposing a broad community of participants to new ideas and analyses that aren't available through existing university courses
- sharing development of teaching materials and strategies across a group of instructors
- networking with the next generation of future postdocs and faculty
- implementation of new ideas for hands-on learning
Proposals should include the following components:
- Course Title
- Course Instructor(s) - Include full name and contact information for all instructors. CVs should be provided as supporting material, and relevant teaching experience should be emphasized.
- Course Description (<1 page), including:
- The importance of the topic to synthetic evolutionary science.
- The intended audience (typically, but not exclusively, postgraduate researchers and educators in evolutionary biology and informatics).
- Evidence for unmet need and demand within the evolutionary research, informatics and/or education communities.
- Syllabus (<1 page) – A breakdown of the proposed topics, instructor contributions, and class activities.
- IT needs (1-3 paragraphs), such as specialized software or intensive computing requirements. Note that NESCent courses are expected to make all learning materials available during the course online in tutorial format, and NESCent provides a course wiki for this purpose.
- Short instructor biographies (1 paragraph each, describing qualifications). In addition, please include a two-page CV for each instructor with an emphasis on relevant teaching experience.
Proposals will be accepted in digital format only as a single PDF file. Graphics should be embedded directly into the proposal document. Include all of the components listed above into a single PDF file, and then submit your proposal electronically. If you already have a profile in the NESCent database, please login first. The deadline for submission is July 10th of each year.
The NESCent Advisory Board will review the course proposals. Review criteria include:
- The relevance of the course to NESCent’s goal of promoting synthetic evolutionary science.
- Evidence for course demand.
- The uniqueness of the course relative to offerings available elsewhere.
- The qualifications and the diversity of the instructors.
- The extent to which the course employs active, hands-on learning on the part of the students, and engages the students by using real examples and data.
- For informatics courses, the extent to which the course promotes the adoption and collaborative development of open source and platform-independent software tools.
- The extent to which the course will reach a diverse audience of students, including under-represented groups. NESCent is particularly interested in promoting the participation of women in informatics.
NESCent will be responsible for the course budget. Student registration is generally kept below $400, depending on the duration and number of instructors, and does not include housing and travel. Instructors will receive an honorarium of $100/day ($50/day for co-instructors and teaching assistants), in addition to travel, housing and per diem expenses. First-time course organizers collectively receive an additional honorarium of $500.
Courses are generally 7-10 days in duration and offered on-site at NESCent during the summer break; however, other arrangements can be considered. Courses are expected to have at least 12 and no more than 24 students. Courses will be scheduled after acceptance, based on instructor and facility availability.
NESCent will handle the following arrangements:
- Distributing the course announcement (with content provided by instructors)
- Hosting the course website and wiki (with content provided by instructors) and general IT/network support
- Receipt of student applications (instructors will review the applications once received)
- Notification of student application outcomes.
- Making travel awards to individuals from under-represented groups.
- Student registration
- Housing and ground transportation for instructors and students
- Ground transportation for students/instructors
- Catering at NESCent
- Travel arrangements for instructors
- VISA arrangements for international visitors
- Extracurricular events and activities (group meals, other social events)