Department Goals and Objectives

To better assess the department’s curriculum, faculty adopted six department goals with measurable outcomes in May 2006:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the major core concepts, theoretical underpinning and empirical findings of Biology (Content Goal)
    1. Students will master the core concepts in ecology, physiology, cell physiology, molecular biology, evolution and genetics.
  2. Understand and apply basic research methods, including experimental design, data analysis and interpretation. (Research Methods Goal)
    1. Students will be able to design an experiment and understand its strengths and weaknesses.
    2. Students will be able to select an appropriate method to test a hypothesis.
    3. Students will be able to conduct a properly controlled experiment.
    4. Students will be able to prepare reagents and properly set up equipment to carry out an experiment.
    5. Students will be able to collect and analyze data from experiments.
    6. Students will be able to use computers to extract information from biologically relevant databases.
    7. Students will have a working knowledge of basic scientific equipment to collect and analyze data.
  3. Understand and apply mathematical approaches to analyze, interpret and model biological processes. (Quantitative Goal)
    1. Students will master graphing skills (e.g., scaling and data transformations) for visualizing experimental results.
    2. Students are expected to understand mathematical formulas concerning biological concepts and draw inferences from them.
    3. Students will understand how numbers are manipulated (e.g., normalization) to yield interpretable results.
    4. Students will understand what the terms statistical significance and confidence intervals mean.
    5. Students will understand what mathematical modeling of a biological concept means.
  4. Use critical thinking and reasoning, skeptical inquiry and scientific approach to solve problems. (Critical Thinking Goal)
    1. Students will be able to conduct a relevant literature review to create a hypothesis.
    2. Students will be able to read and evaluate scientific literature.
    3. Students will be able to make connections between diverse facts and observations to develop an understanding of basic core concepts.
    4. Students will be able to draw appropriate conclusions from experimental results.
  5. Demonstrate writing and oral communication skills important for communicating scientific ideas. (Communications Goal)
    1. Students will communicate experimental results in an understandable manner.
    2. Students will demonstrate effective oral presentation skills.
    3. Students will collaboratively produce scientific reports from laboratory and or classroom assignments.