Since 2009, the U.S. National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences has funded Research Coordination Networks (RCN) aimed at collaborative efforts to improve participation, learning, and assessment in undergraduate biology education (UBE). RCN-UBE projects focus on coordination and communication among scientists and educators who are fostering improved and innovative approaches to biology education. When faculty members collaborate with the overarching goal of advancing undergraduate biology education, there is a need to optimize collaboration between participants in order to deeply integrate the knowledge across disciplinary boundaries. In this essay we propose a novel guiding framework for bringing colleagues together to advance knowledge and its integration across disciplines, the “Five ‘C’s’ of Collaboration: Commitment, Collegiality, Communication, Consensus, and Continuity.” This guiding framework for professional network practice is informed by both relevant literature and empirical evidence from community-building experience within the RCN-UBE Advancing Competencies in Experimentation–Biology (ACE-Bio) Network. The framework is presented with practical examples to illustrate how it might be used to enhance collaboration between new and existing participants in the ACE-Bio Network as well as within other interdisciplinary networks.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences (COS)


RIT – Main Campus