PULSE originated in October, 2012 as an initiative launched by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS/NIH).  Forty Vision and Change Leadership Fellows were selected from a pool of applicants that had demonstrated leadership experience and experience as change agents in STEM education at Associate’s, Baccalaureate, Master’s and Doctoral/research universities. The Fellows developed programs that currently serve institutions of higher education across the US. 

We transitioned to a tax-exempt, educational non-profit in 2016.  Since our founding in 2012, we have recruited two rounds of new Fellows, and have engaged more than 300 departments/institutions in our programs.  Our programs were initiated with grant funding, and we continue to have limited support from several different educational funding programs.  These programs are now supported by charging fees to participant institutions.  We seek to offer our programs to any institution regardless of ability to pay, so continue to seek financial support from public and private sources, including individual donations.  Please visit the ‘GIVE’ link, above to make a donation. 

All PULSE Fellows and those participating in PULSE events must adhere to PULSE's Code of Conduct.  


The PULSE Vision is an educated populace that routinely applies scientific knowledge, reasoning, and creative insight to address real-world challenges.


The PULSE Mission is to provide academic departments with resources and skills that promote alignment of undergraduate life sciences programs with best educational practices, including those recommended in the Vision & Change Report (2011). PULSE promotes the removal of barriers to access, equity, and inclusion, and the adoption of evidence-based teaching and learning practicesSuch practices promote the development of scientists who reflect the diversity of our society and non-scientists who understand science as a way of knowing about the natural world.



  1. Engage entire departments in a process of organizational and institutional change to incorporate evidence-based teaching and learning practices and strategies.
  2. Cultivate cohesive departmental teams that enact transformation through facilitative leadership, collaboration, and negotiation in each institutional context.
  3. Guide departments striving toward exemplary standards of practice through ongoing, iterative, self-reflective assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Create and support communities of practice that share resources and strategies to transform life sciences programs in ways that can lead to improved student outcomes.
  5. Advocate for anti-racist actions to remove barriers to access, equity, and inclusion in academic programs.
  6. Foster inclusivity by engaging and guiding institutions of all types to use practices that reach every student, regardless of background, demographic characteristics, and future aspirations.
  7. Evaluate the outcomes of PULSE’s programs regularly, modify them as necessary to enhance their impact, and disseminate our findings in a cycle of continuous improvement.


PULSE Fellows

PULSE Fellows 2016

PULSE fellows are undergraduate life science faculty with experience as change agents at Associate’s, Baccalaureate, Master’s and Doctoral/research universities.These Fellows are charged with stimulating department-level implementation of Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (2011) in undergraduate institutions of all types across the U.S. The original 40 Leadership Fellows were selected in 2012 by a team consisting of representatives from HHMI,NSF and NIH. Since that time the PULSE organization has recruited more fellows as well as had fellows go on reserve. For the current list of active fellows, click here.

Dynamic Governance

Dynamic governance image

PULSE utilizes Dynamic Governance (DG) as its mechanism of governance and encourages its adoption as a mechanism for departmental transformation.  DG is an alternative form of organizational governance in which decision-making is based on consent using procedures that ensure all voices are heard.  It has a sociocratic structure that incorporates essential aspects of the Quaker model.

An organization instituting DG defines its working units (semi-autonomous Circles) and their hierarchical relationships as makes best sense. Use of the DG process by PULSE has improved efficiency, effectiveness, and inclusiveness. Click here for more information on Dynamic Governance.