Active-learning experiences — in classrooms, laboratories, and outside of courses — are highly valued components of preparing undergraduates to become biologists. We characterized the educational opportunities available to students in the biological sciences at colleges and universities within the eastern Great Lakes region and student perceptions of a variety of opportunities. We surveyed biology departments at 33 institutions to determine the availability of and participation in educational travel, internships, laboratories, skill development, and undergraduate research involvement. There was variation in the availability of internships, the types of skill development and educational travel offered, and the numbers of labs required in different biology curricula. Undergraduate research was offered at all institutions, and most researchactive students presented results at least locally. Most colleges and universities offer a wide range of educational experiences and opportunities that complement traditional biology curricula and that are valued by students. Because fewer than half of the students took advantage of most of these experiences, schools still have the opportunity to increase their value in undergraduate education through increased student participation.
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Vol. 78 • No. 9