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Biology

Program Goals and Outcomes

The Department of Biological Sciences has three degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)

Program goals, outcomes, and assessments have been established for each program and specializations within the B.S.

B.A. and B.S. Biology

Goals
Graduates will have a comprehensive knowledge base of the biology of organisms.
Graduates will be critical thinkers with the ability to reflect upon scientific knowledge and continue to expand upon this knowledge throughout their careers.
Graduates will be able to employ appropriate experimental design and methodology to solve problems in biology.
Graduates will be able to describe the societal place of biology as a science, and appropriately communicate and apply underlying principles biology to current issues.
Program Outcomes
Assessment
Students will exhibit basic mastery of biological content.
Students take the ETS Major Field Achievement Test as a requirement of BIOL 499S.
Students will be able to critically analyze the primary literature.
Students will discuss relevant research during Senior Seminar (BIOL 499S), and appropriate biology courses.
Students will be able to reason analytically.
Students take the ETS Major Field Achievement Test as a requirement of BIOL 499S.
Students will employ appropriate experimental design and methodology.
Students will write research proposals and conduct research projects in appropriate courses.
Students will effectively communicate underlying principles of biology.
Students will prepare oral, written, and poster presentations.
Students will demonstrate basic scientific skills.
Students use various scientific instruments to make measurements in the lab and field.

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Cell and Molecular Biology Area of Specialization within B.S.

Cell and Molecular Biology is the study of what cells are, how they are put together, what makes them work, what makes them differ from each other, how they associate and interact, and what goes wrong in disease states. The study of cell and molecular biology facilitates understanding of a wide variety of disciplines including genetics, developmental biology, microbiology, immunology and physiology. The emphasis in Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) is designed for students with interests in the cellular and molecular basics of life and the application of molecular techniques to medical, technological and environmental issues. The goal of the CMB emphasis is to prepare graduates to be competitive in applications for entry into graduate degree programs, professional programs, or technical/ industrial jobs.

Goals
Graduates will be able to critically analyze primary literature in the cell-, molecular-, and microbiology fields.
Graduates will be critical thinkers with the ability to reflect and grow professionally throughout their career.
Graduates will identify themselves as scientists and use the scientific method to address questions in cell- molecular-, and microbiology.
Graduates will be able to employ appropriate experimental design and methodology to solve problems in cell-, molecular- and microbiology.
Graduates will be able to appropriately communicate and apply underlying principles of cell-, molecular and microbiology to current issues.
Program Objectives
Assessment
Students will find and comprehend peer reviewed cell-, molecular-, and microbiology literature.
Students will search for published cell-, molecular-, and microbiology literature and incorporate facts and ideas gleaned from the literature into research papers.
Students will write review papers and research proposals pertinent to cell-, molecular-, and microbiology topics.
Students will conduct literature reviews and present results of laboratory investigations in formal scientific format.
Students will be exposed to the complexity of cell and molecular biology.
Students will identify sources of variability that affect results of their own research studies.
Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)
Assessment of SLO
Students will be familiar with flow of genetic information, cell structure, function and development
Students will identify these systems in lab practica or exams.
Students will identify and explain issues in the molecular sciences and biotechnology.
Students will answer essay questions on exams and quizzes.
Students will critically analyze primary literature from cell-, molecular- and microbiology journals.
Students will present a critical analysis of primary literature in oral or written format.

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Ecology Area of Specialization within B.S.

Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with their physical and biological environment. The Ecology specialization is designed for students interested in basic and applied ecology, including fisheries, wildlife management, forestry, ecological restoration, and conservation biology. Students following this specialization will gain experience in natural history, field research, and experimental design. Potential careers may be found in federal, state, and tribal agencies, or private environmental consulting firms. The Ecology faculty strongly suggest that every student augment the single required taxonomy course with an elective second taxonomy course. Students interested in graduate study in ecology should work closely with their advisor to tailor this specialization to their particular field of interest.

Goals
Graduates will recognize the ecological basis for regional and global environmental issues.
Graduates will be critical thinkers with the ability to reflect and grow professionally throughout their career.
Graduates will identify themselves as scientists and use the scientific method to explore the world.
Graduates will recognize the complexity of biotic and abiotic interactions that influence an organism.
Graduates will recognize major features and characteristic organisms of ecological systems in nature (e.g. shrub-steppe, forests, lakes, rivers).
Program Objectives
Assessment
Students will find and comprehend peer reviewed ecological literature.
Students will search for published ecological literature and incorporate facts and ideas gleaned from the literature into research papers.
Students will complete field studies of their own design to test ecological hypotheses.
Students will conduct ecological field studies and present results of ecological investigations in formal scientific format (paper, poster, or oral presentation).
Students will be exposed to the complexity of the natural world.
Students will identify sources of variability in nature that affect results of their own field studies.
Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)
Assessment of SLO
Students will be familiar with characteristic organisms of at least one major biome or ecological assemblage (e.g. shrub-steppe system; aquatic system; forest system; alpine system; or others).
Students will identify species assemblages in field notes, written reports, field practica, or exams.
Students will be familiar with at least one major taxonomic group (i.e. plants, animals, fungi, algae or bacteria).
Students will identify important regional species from one or more taxonomic groups using appropriate keys.
Students will identify and explain regional global ecological issues.
Students will answer essay questions on exams and quizzes.
Students will critically analyze primary literature from ecological journals.
Students will orally present a critical analysis of primary literature.

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Master of Science in Biology

Degree Program Goals
Student Learning Outcomes
Assessment Instruments
Upon completion of this program, students will understand the process of conducting biological research and will produce a professional level thesis.
A. Students will take courses designed to enhance their knowledge in their chosen area of specialization and to bolster areas deemed deficient in their undergraduate education.
A. Graduate Committee determination based on GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, and consultation.
 
B. Students will define an area of interest within biology and demonstrate historic and current knowledge of that area.
B. Oral examination conducted by the student's Graduate Committee and departmental faculty.
 
C. Students will design a research project which will serve as the basis of the thesis.
C. Acceptability of the project will be judged by the Graduate Committee.
 
D. Students will demonstrate the results of their graduate research in the form of a professional level thesis.
D. Acceptability of the thesis will be judged by the Graduate Committee and the office of Graduate Studies and Research.

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