2009-2010 Biology Curriculum Wiki

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Group I (Mark B, Karen B, Steve P, & Barbara L)

  • Bio majors requires:

-three intro classes -three 200 level courses -five classes at 300/400 level (at least two of which include labs)

  • Intro = Chem 115, Biolll, & Bio112 (all with labs)
  • 200 level = two integrative/interdisciplinary lab courses (no lecture) and one seminar/lecture course (with no lab)

- topics for these 200-level courses could vary by instructor, year, may be team-taught, etc. - intended to provide potential bio majors and pre-meds who are busy with organic/physics with foundational biology courses that are not as time-consuming as combined lecture/lab courses currently in the ABC categories -intended to lay experimental and inquiry foundations so that students have ability to ask questions and take responsibility for seeking information/answers on their own -

  • 300 level = upper level lab, lecture, seminar, group investigation, etc. courses

-similar to current structures, topics, etc. of our 300 level courses

  • 400 level = independent research, thesis research, honors research

- greater variety of research course numbers to reflect discipline and/or nature of research experience

First pass at pros and cons of other 2 versions KB Question: What about requiring a portfolio of some sort? (a 'product') Could require lab article from 111/112 (so they go back and edit), a research article, a 'reflection' piece, set of images or website

KB Question: What about having a 'biology tools' course after first bio course for those who would benefit. This would circumvent our inability to pre-screen and place (AP scores are not the best indicator, no placement test.

Group II First pass at fleshing out proposal (may modify original version in response to discussions)

Karen H., Linda, Chris P., Sophia, Chris H.

The Bio Major would require:

  • Bio 111 and 112, Che 115
  • Bio 2xx recommended (not required at first, but later, as staffing issues are worked out)
  • One Group A lab course, one Group B lab course, and one more from either of those groups
  • Five more courses above the 200 level (for now the 200 level is recommended, so would fall in this category – when it is required, then only four more courses would be required)

We propose a renewed emphasis on a common set of skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Experimental design
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Writing
  • Literature searching
  • Reading scientific literature
  • Presentation skills: oral presentations and posters

Keep the Bio 111 and Bio 112 sequence, but with a stronger emphasis on these skills

One new 200 level course

  • Integrative/interdisciplinary course
  • Team taught by one small and one big biologist – each receives credit for teaching 1 course
  • The course would be a skills course, emphasizing the fundamental skills listed above
  • At least initially, it would not be required, but recommended. Eventually, this course would be required, but would not be a strict prerequisite to upper level courses, which would allow students to take it concurrently with a 300 level course to allow completion of major in a timely fashion
  • Topics would be chosen by teachers of each section, but should be current, exciting, related to concepts covered in 111 and/or 112
  • Three contact hours per week – either as one 3 hour meeting per week, or as a T/Th course to allow for sufficient time to perform laboratory work, small group activities, or class discussion
  • Capped at 24 students
  • Three sections per year, 2 in fall and 1 in spring, to allow for all potential majors to take, plus allow pre-meds the option of taking it
  • In order to staff this course fully, we anticipate that we could do it IF all bio faculty participated once every other year and we hired one more faculty to almost cover the six courses we’d lose
  • We also anticipate potential decreases in frequency of other course offerings.
  • Could anticipate the extra hire coming from the increase in faculty proposed in the strategic plan

Distribution requirements at 300 level would be in the consolidated A/B groupings

400 level would be for research: Independent Study and Group Investigations

First pass at pros and cons of other 2 versions

[Chris P comment: Group I's 200 level courses are similar to Group II's, except that we propose one course with lecture and lab. That would be flexible by allowing teachers to use the scheduled time either in class or laboratory. This seems to me to facilitate integration of themes and allow for discussion of "experimental and inquiry foundations" outside of the laboratory. The common set of skills could also be emphasized more effectively.]

[Chris P comment: Group III's idea about offering mini-courses - not really sure what those are. If they're in the context of a "team-taught" course then it sounds more like a "tag-team-taught" course, and not very interdisciplinary.]

[Chris P comment: Group III's ideas about team-teaching and time-shifting are worthy of more thought/discussion. But I wonder; if Dave and Sophia will now be teaching Micro and Immuno annually, does that hinder their ability to be involved in interdisciplinary team-teaching?]

[Chris P comment: Group III's 200 level course has some overlap with other groups - I think we could come to some consensus, as a department, about an effective 200 level course.]

Group III First pass at fleshing out proposal (may modify original version in response to discussions)

Dave, Pat and Malcolm

  • We like the idea of 200, 300, 400 courses
  • We think that big biologist should include some genetics and we think small biologists should include some diversity/ecology and statistics.
  • We think this would allow Karen Hales to be the only genetics instructor. Dave would offer micro once a year and Sofia would offer immunology once a year.
  • We propose that we team-teach more and design interdisciplinary courses. This would require faculty development where each of us offer mini-courses on special topics as needed. We could develop new teach-taught courses that accomplish faculty development as well as offering new courses.
  • Current ABC course division is not working. We propose a 200 level courses that would address the breadth issues that could be team taught.
  • We think the holes that are in our curriculum could be filled as identified especially through team taught courses.
  • There are methods to keep assessment consistent for team-taught courses throughout the semester.
  • As indicated by the outside reviewers, our department has a mindset where each faculty member is an island and we prefer a metaphor of a network of interconnected nodes where we help each other.

Part II

  • We want students to be able to start the major after first year and be able to go abroad.
  • 100 level courses need to combine some skills, some content, some excitement. Should be funnels and not filters. We want to utilize Mark Barsoum’s M&S center to help students make the transition from HS memorization to college critical thinking and extracting key concepts.
  • There is a difference between covering material and students learning material.
  • 200 level courses add the breadth.
  • Chem 115 should be required before any 300 level courses.
  • 300 level courses could be in-depth courses that explore an area
  • 400 level courses have synthesis and/or full research experience.
  • The outside reviewers commented repeatedly about the departmental culture of not talking about difficult topics is stifling creativity. We think every course should be open to collaborative input.
  • We are scared of change, time taken from research, and going into an area where we are less comfortable. We think some time allocation is necessary to facilitate the transition.
  • We think the new interdisciplinary initiatives will require that we have time shifted, not added. One way to do that is have a 3+2 or 4+1 distribution, with majority in Biology and 2 or 1 in interdisciplinary area.

First pass at pros and cons of other 2 versions KB Concerned that demand for genetics will outstrip supply UNLESS genetics is placed at 300 level and there is a 200 level requirement. (impression being current non-major premed students seem to filter intro to genetics) KB chem115 before 300bio is strength. (I would actually prefer a bit more chem but that's another tail) KB 400level= synthesis &/or research experience is strength. Would suggest going so far as to only allow second sem jr and sr to enroll.

Second pass to flesh out our proposal

111 and 112 required
two 200 courses required: provide diversity or set of skills
three 300 courses required: provides depth within an area
one 400 course required and will be considered a capstone experience and provides synthesis of knowledge
two "floater courses": provides flexibility, transfer courses and study abroad
Chem 115 required before any 300s
Total courses required remains 11
SFS semester program would give students a 400 credit and 2 "floater" courses
SFS summer program would get one "floater" course
Duke/Davidson program would be determined by courses selected by students

Other 100s 200s 300s 400s
Chem 115 103 Biostats Genetics Seminars
104 Micro Biochem Group Investigations
111 Entomology Immunology Ind. Studies
112 Botany Development Neuro__? XL
Animal Physiology Mol Bio (or 200s)
Vert. Field Bio. Ecology
Animal Behavior Evolution
Comp. Anat. Genomics
Mol Bio (or 300s) Cell Bio
Bioinformatics XL
Lab Methods Genomics
Cellular Neuro