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Department of Biology



Department of Biology Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biology is to contribute to the comprehensive liberal arts curriculum by fostering in students an appreciation of the relevance of the biological sciences to their lives and the choices they will be faced with as members of a society experiencing rapid technological advances. To this end, students will develop knowledge and skills that will enable them to evaluate the impact of their decisions on local, regional and global issues concerning the economy, personal health and welfare, and the environment. Students completing the biology major will be prepared for entry-level careers in science or to pursue advanced training in graduate and professional schools. To fulfill the mission, the biology curriculum is designed to address seven goals:

  • To provide an understanding of the mechanics, application and limitations of the scientific process
  • Develop an appreciation and understanding of evolution and the diversity of life
  • Demonstrate the relationships between structure, function and energy in living systems
  • Culture an appreciation for the historical development of scientific knowledge
  • Instruct students in effective utilization of discipline-specific information resources
  • Develop technical and analytical skills appropriate to modern biological investigation
  • Enhance both written and oral communication skills appropriate to the discipline

Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes

Program Goal 1: Provide breadth in biological sciences training by requiring students to take courses in each of the following areas:

PLO 1.1: Cell Structure, Genetics, Physiology, & Molecular Process Students will demonstrate an understanding of cell structure, genetics, cell physiology and the molecular processes of cells.

PLO 1.2: Organismal Biology Students will be able describe the features which distinguish the Three Domains of life and the developmental and physiological mechanisms which are fundamental to all living organisms.

PLO 1.3: Populations & Ecosystems Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of evolution, and ecology and their relationships to populations and ecosystems.

Goal 2: Provide training in technical & analytical research skills

PLO 2.1: Laboratory Practice & Techniques Students will demonstrate proper laboratory practice, proper use of equipment and the ability to use basic and advanced techniques in several areas of biology.

PLO 2.2: Statistical Analysis Students will demonstrate the ability to perform appropriate statistical analysis of experimental data and draw valid conclusions from their analysis.

Goal 3: Provide training in accessing & evaluating biological information

PLO 3: Critical Evaluation of the literature including journals, periodicals & electronic media Students will demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate journal articles from the primary literature.

Goal 4: Provide training in communication of research findings PLO 4: Scientific writing, including incorporation of research findings Students will demonstrate the ability to produce a paper written in the format of a scientific journal article reporting the results of their own experiment. Students will demonstrate the ability to incorporate the findings of their experimental research into the existing body of knowledge in that area of biology.


Graduate Program Learning Outcomes

Goal 1: To train students in experimental design and analysis.

PLO 1.1 Students will apply scientific methods to advanced problem solving.
PLO 1.2 Students will design and execute experiments using appropriate modern techniques.
PLO 1.3 Students will analyze and interpret data from completed experiments.

Goal 2: To train students how to access, critically evaluate, and utilize scientific literature.

PLO 2.1: Students will effectively use scientific journals, periodicals, and electronic media to access current biological information in specialized fields.
PLO 2.2: Students will critique data and recognize significance of published scientific works.
PLO 2.3: Students will integrate current scientific literature and existing body of knowledge to synthesize and contribute new ideas in specialized fields of biology.

Goal 3: To train students in professional scientific written and oral communications.

PLO 3.1: Students will identify, inquire, research, and prepare a formal research proposal.
PLO 3.2: Students will report on their completed research project with a written thesis.
PLO 3.3: Students will defend their completed thesis with an oral presentation explaining the research findings, contribution, and importance.