The Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) Program at the University of Maryland seeks to engage and inspire honors students interested in all aspects of biological research and biomedicine. Several recent national initiatives, e.g., BIO 2010, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians, and Vision and Change, have called for the transformation of undergraduate education in the life sciences. The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences has partnered with the Honors College to create the ILS program, which offers nationally recognized innovations in the multidisciplinary training of life science and pre-medical students. Admission to ILS is contingent upon 1.) university acceptance into the Honors College and 2.) outstanding performance in college-level biology courses, which can be demonstrated by a high score on the Advanced Placement exam, or as high grades in introductory courses taken at the University of Maryland or other colleges.
The overall objective of the ILS experience is to prepare students for future successes in the most challenging programs in graduate, medical, dental, or other professional schools.
The Student Experience
The overall goal of a living-learning program is to facilitate the development of meaningful academic, professional, and personal relationships among fellow students as well as with faculty, staff, and mentors. ILS students live together in LaPlata Hall where the ILS faculty and staff have their offices. Technology classrooms and study rooms are conveniently located in LaPlata Hall and other adjacent residential halls in the Ellicott Community. The Eppley Recreation Center, LaPlata Beach, North Campus Diner, and Football Stadium are all located just outside LaPlata's doors. Given the importance of the residential experience in living-learning programs, all ILS students are required to live in the ILS residence hall in their first year in the program. ILS strongly recommends but does not require second-year students to continue living in the ILS residence.
ILS students play an active role in ILS community programming. They are involved in planning, organizing, and implementing group service days, community dinners, and group outings for the ILS community, as well for the Honors College. Visit our Calendar of Events to see recent programs.
You can read about the impact of Living Learning Communities on the student experience in the recent issue of Odyssey, the newsletter from the College of Computer, Math and Natural Sciences.
Over two years, ILS students enroll in a sequence of four accelerated courses in integrated organismal biology, genetics and genomics, a choice between biomathematics and biological modeling or cell biology, and a capstone scholarship-in-practice experience (totaling 14 credits).
This sequence serves to integrate fundamental principles across all sciences and to encourage students to apply their knowledge toward addressing complex real-world problems in life sciences and biomedicine. The sequence complements but does not completely duplicate the requirements for the biological sciences major or for other majors. Thus, ILS students can major in any academic discipline, as long as they are prepared for and interested in the rigorous ILS curriculum.
ILS students are expected to have meaningful experiences in basic biological, biomedical, or clinical research on the UM campus or at federal research and biomedical institutes having international renown for research excellence, e.g., NIH-Bethesda, FDA-College Park, USDA-Beltsville, and Smithsonian Institution-Washington, DC. The goal of ILS is to establish a network of dedicated ILS mentors and internship agreements with several institutes that will offer unique opportunities for training future biological researchers and clinical physicians.
One of the objectives of the ILS program is to create a community that fosters collaboration and inspires action in the world. This objective is best achieved by encouraging students to participate in engaging service opportunities that promote the development of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make a difference. Through active participation in service, followed by critical reflections on the experience, students are able to take what is learned in the classroom and relate it to the world around them.
Green Office Program
In an effort to reduce our environmental footprint and promote a sustainable future the La Plata Honors College Office is participating in the Green Office Program sponsored by the University of Maryland's Office of Sustainability.The purpose of the green office program is to engage staff, faculty and students in a dynamic initiative that promotes best environmental practices at the University of Maryland. The program seeks to motivate environmentally friendly behaviors by providing definitive guidelines and reducing confusion about best practices. The program operates through a network of representatives (GO Reps) with Dr. Boots Quimby (serving as the current GO rep for the La Plata Honors College Office.
The goals of the Green Office program are to:
- Engage the campus community in activities that will strengthen the University of Maryland's position as a national leader in sustainability
- Recognize and reward leadership in sustainability
- Educate participants about how and why to take action
- Support the University's Climate Action Plan and Strategic Plan
- Further integrate sustainability into campus culture
- Conserve water, save energy, minimize waste and save money
- Promote campus policies that support sustainability