Discovery Project: IB 75: Berkeley Changemaker: BioDiscovery, Community, and Culture

This course aims to enhance students' leadership in science and Integrative Biology by guiding them in value reflection, community engagement, research experiences, and the creation of their own DeCal courses and RSOs.

Authors: Nichole Lewis, Postdoctoral Scholar in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, Diyala Shihadih, Postdoctoral Scholar in Shortlidge Biology Education Research Group at Portland State University, Dax Ovid, Assistant Professor in Physiology and Pharmacology at University of Georgia and Robert Full, Professor in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley
Course Number & Title: IB 75: Berkeley Changemaker: BioDiscovery, Community, and Culture
Grant TypeBerkeley Discover Departmental Innovation Award Program (Discovery Trailblazers)

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


IB 75: Berkeley Changemaker: BioDiscovery, Community, and Culture

Delivery Format


High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories 
(Review definitions for each category.)

  • First-Year Seminars and Experiences

  • Common Intellectual Experiences

Learning Objectives

  • Practice the scientific research process of discovery of critical thinking, asking questions and making predictions based on evidence in our Deeper Dives (facilitated discussion in class meeting following Guest Speakers)

  • Experience the process of conducting informational interviews with emeritx, faculty, graduate students, or professionals in your fields of interest to discover research, internships, externships, and/or service and shadowing opportunities

  • Listen and learn from our colleagues in practicing empathy, compassion, and cultural awareness as key components to interdisciplinary & ethical discovery

  • Create either a short syllabus for student-led DeCal course, an RSO, or action project, based on what you discover could contribute to supporting community and discovery for students with your shared values and interests

Course Expectations

  • In-class discussion participation

  • Group activities

  • Weekly reflections before and after lecture 

  • Final project in the form of a DeCal course syllabus or a community based or action project

Assignments Types

  • Pre-lecture reflection 

  • Post-lecture reflection containing takeaways and questions from guest speaker/panel to build out next class meeting

  • End of the week reflection

  • Two information interviews: 1 with faculty or emeritus, 1 with graduate student or non-academic professional

  • Final project where students either design a short syllabus for a DeCal, draft a proposal for a community based or action project that could be housed in a student organization or center at Berkeley accompanied by a 2-3 page (1000-1500 words) reflection about your process in developing your project based on the rubric to be provided

Overview of Grading Criteria

Students are provided with a grading rubric for the final project clearly outlining the criteria they will be graded on. For the reflections students are told that they must be written in the student’s own words and demonstrate full engagement. Students receive half the points for turning it in on time (key for building out the second lecture of the week) and the other half based on completeness and depth of response.

Impact & Feedback

Student feedback #1: “I loved the reflections, as it challenges all students to ask themselves why they are there and helps them reflect on what they deem important and why!

Student feedback #2: “I liked this class because unlike classes like biology and chemistry, this class allowed us to gain an insight of what goes on behind the scenes of science learning. 

Applicable Materials

See syllabus, handout 1, handout 2, handout 3, handout 4