B.E.S.T. Learning Community

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B.E.S.T. Learning Community

Biology Education Success Teams


The Biology Learning Community, Biology Education Success Teams (B.E.S.T.), is designed to support first-year students entering the Biology Program. The B.E.S.T. Learning Community seeks to help navigate students through their first year in the Biology Program and facilitate lasting connections with peers, program faculty, and staff, both in and outside the classroom setting. It is our hope that after participation in the B.E.S.T. Learning Community, students will feel a strong connection to the Biology Program, feel more comfortable approaching and interacting with faculty and staff, know and utilize ISU resources, and demonstrate academic success during their time here at Iowa State. Additional B.E.S.T. Learning Community details are provided below:

  • This fall semester-long program is open to all incoming first-year Biology students, regardless of their place of residence.
  • Students will enroll in our introductory Biology orientation course, BIOL 110, where they will meet and interact with other new first-year Biology students. In this course, students will build connections with various resources across campus, such as the Study Abroad Center, Academic Success Center, and Career Services. Students will also learn to create their own four-year plans, run and interpret degree audits, and review the requirements for the Biology Program.
  • All first-year students will be invited to participate in various B.E.S.T. social events throughout the fall semester. Previous social events have included a Welcome Picnic prior to the start of fall classes, Kickball on Central Campus with your Introductory Biology professor, Movie Nights with Planet Earth, and Pumpkin Painting in October.
  • Students will be invited to participate in the Biology Program's service-learning event, the Skunk River Navy. This river clean-up project is the perfect opportunity to get involved in the Biology Program and build relationships with peers, faculty, and staff members in a fun and informal setting.
  • Students will also interact with B.E.S.T. Peer Mentors. These upperclassmen in Biology help to organize and coordinate B.E.S.T. social events, facilitate the BIOL 110 orientation course, and provide study assistance by hosting the Biology Help Room weekly. Our Peer Mentors also act as resources for first-year Biology students to consult with on academic topics ranging from course recommendations to internships and research experiences, as well as personal topics such as strategies to cope with homesickness or roommate differences, fun activities offered around campus, and dining center favorites.