Biology Student Learning Outcomes

 Vertebrate lab
Undergraduate Students 

1. Students will be able to demonstrate both a theoretical and a practical mastery of biology.  Students may also choose to specialize in a particular field within biology.

  2. Students will be able to demonstrate mastery of the scientific method and scientific primary literature, the design and application of experiments, and evaluation of content information.  

   3. Students will be able to demonstrate appropriate laboratory techniques and mastery of basic laboratory skills in multiple fields of biology.

   4. Students will be able to demonstrate a practical mastery of the importance of and contributions of biology history to both the historical component and modern applications.
 
   5. Students will be able to demonstrate mastery of the art of critical thinking, associated cognitive skills in the formulation of a problem, data gathering and analysis, and interpretation of results to address practical questions in biology.

   6. Students will be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and involvement of biology in modern society.

Graduate Students

1.    Students will be able to demonstrate the analytical, communication, problem solving, interpersonal, and technical skills that will provide a strong foundation for scientific productivity and progressive career development. 

Attitudes:

Scientific research plays a crucial role in the development of policy and decision-making for the benefit of society.  Understanding science is a life-long learning process. Scientific ethical conduct and ethical implications of scientific issues in society are important.  Courses will include discussions about scientific advancements related ethical issues as appropriate.

Skills:

Students will be able to develop a coherent research prospectus and carry out a research project which includes mastery of appropriate techniques and the collection, organization and analysis of data.

Knowledge:

Students will become cognizant of scientific concepts, recent developments, and areas for future research in his or her chosen field.  Students will use traditional, modern, and emerging techniques and approaches used to conduct research in his or her chosen field.

Students will be able to apply the gained expertise in his or her research field to career opportunities.

Method of Measurement:

Numerous oral presentations and formal written documents (environmental impact statements, project proposals, article critiques, and literature reviews) are required in almost every course.

2.   Students will gain an in-depth understanding of biological concepts that apply to the student's area of concentration.

Attitudes:

Scientific progress should be based on the unbiased collection, analysis, and interpretation of evidence. The biological sciences, by their nature, are interdisciplinary. 

Skills:

Students will be able to develop a coherent research prospectus

Students will be able to carry out a research project which includes mastery of appropriate techniques and the collection, organization and analysis of data

Knowledge:

Scientific concepts, recent developments, and areas for future research efforts in his or her chosen field including traditional, modern, and emerging techniques and approaches used to conduct research in his or her chosen field of research

Method of Measurement:

The written thesis prospectus and final thesis for the research project.

Oral presentation of the research project to an audience of peers and faculty and subsequent oral examination of students by the thesis committee.

Or a comprehensive exam based on the student's individual degree plan.

Graduate alumni survey

3.    Students will gain an experience with the peer scientific review process.

Attitudes:

A large quantity of scientific information is constantly being generated.  A scientist should be able to critically analyze the information and the evidence behind it. Scientists should be able to set aside personal biases and look only at the facts and data.  Also of paramount importance are scientific ethical conduct and the ethical implications of scientific issues in society.  

Skills:

Understanding and critically evaluating the scientific work of others and discussing new results in the context of what is already known and what is yet to be discovered.

Knowledge:

Demonstrating abilities to maintain an unbiased review and approaching the process for its value, expanding science knowledge.  The peer review process is addressed in every graduate course in the form of article critiques, debates of issues, and presentations.

4.    Graduates will develop excellent oral and written communication skills.

Attitudes:

Scientist should not only acquire knowledge but also be able to present the knowledge to non-scientists in a coherent understandable manner without scientific jargon such that a non-scientist can understand the information and the supporting evidence and form an informed opinion. Scientific ethical conduct and ethical implications of scientific issues in society are important.

Skills:

Synthesizing the results of their work in a master's thesis or comprehensive understanding and critically evaluating the scientific  work of others and discussing new results in the context of what is already known and what should still be done.

Methods of Measurement:

These skills are addressed in every course, especially in biology seminars (Bio. 560 and Bio. 561) which are required courses of all biology graduate students and which focus entirely on scientific communication and discussion. Some of the assignments for these and other biology classes include (1) writing public service announcements or science news for specific non-science audiences (2) oral presentations and (3) preparation of formal written documents for presentation, analysis and distribution.