The Development of Core Concepts for Neuroscience Higher Education: From Beginning to Summer Virtual Meeting Satellite Session

Audrey Chen, Kimberley A. Phillips, Jennifer E. Schaefer, and Patrick M. Sonner


Neuroscience curricula vary widely across higher education institutions due to the lack of an accrediting body or a set of unified educational concepts or outcomes.  Each institution has developed a unique set of fundamental knowledge, topical subdisciplines, and core competencies to be delivered in a neuroscience program.  Core concepts would provide neuroscience departments and programs with a generally agreed upon set of overarching           principles that organize knowledge and can be applied to all sub-disciplines of the field, providing a useful framework from which to approach neuroscience education. We set out to develop a consensus set of neuroscience core concepts to aid in higher education curricular development and assessment. Suggestions for neuroscience core concepts were solicited from neuroscience faculty in a nationwide survey and analyzed using an inductive, independent coding model to identify eight core concepts based upon survey responses. Accompanying explanatory paragraphs for each core concept were developed through an iterative process. We presented the resulting core concepts to 134 neuroscience educators at a satellite session of the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience 2020 Summer Virtual Meeting (SVM). Individuals and groups of faculty provided feedback regarding the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and clarity of each concept and explanatory paragraph, as well as the structure of the document as a whole. We continue to refine the core concepts based upon this feedback and will distribute the final document in a subsequent publication.  Following publication of the finalized list of core concepts, we will develop tools to help educators incorporate the core concepts into their curricula.