Initiative's Goals

  1. Integrate Computational Modeling (CM) and Dynamical Systems (DS) throughout the curriculum beginning with introductory courses in the natural and social sciences.
    Students will develop expertise in both agent-based and aggregate modeling. In addition, the grant will support the integration of modeling content in intermediate- and upper-level courses and the development of independent and student-faculty using modeling approaches. Specifically, students will learn
    • What a dynamic systems model is;
    • The wide range of applicability of modeling to different fields;
    • How dynamic systems models are developed; and
    • How dynamic systems models are implemented and evaluated.

  2. Develop a cohort of faculty experienced in CM and DS.
    This will include developing discipline-specific modeling skills of faculty teaching introductory courses across the natural and social sciences, and supporting the teaching of broader modeling skills by core modeling faculty.

  3. Develop new tools for teaching computational modeling.
    While programs for agent- based modeling appropriate for both teaching and research are freely available, students and researchers interested in aggregate modeling have had to rely on commercial software. The project will build on and develop a new modeling tool, Nova, which will be made available freely to the educational community and the public.

  4. Provide experiences to graduate students
    in teaching (including active learning) and curricular development.

  5. Assess and evaluate the effect of these curricular changes
    on undergraduate education and students, disseminating this as a model for other institutions. Specifically, we will evaluate students’ effectiveness in using and building models as research tools, their ability to understand and evaluate other people’s models, make assumptions explicit and use them to explore the limits of a model, and ask powerful questions.