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How we Developed the New Curriculum

Are you interested in learning how we developed our new undergraduate biology curriculum?

Using an evidence based approach the biology department has spent the past five years developing our new curriculum.

  • The beginning: Spring 2011
    • Curriculum design committee (CDC) formed
    • CDC charged with making evidence-based recommendations for a new curriculum
  • Evaluation and Setting Priorities: Fall 2011
    • CDC evaluated the curricula at comparable universities, Vision and Change (AAAS/NSF), External Program Review, Program Prioritization, Student Assessment Data, and Faculty Surveys.
    • CDC set the following priorities as goals for a new curriculum:
    • All biology majors should have the same foundational courses
    • Foundational courses should have a prescribed sequence
    • Foundational courses should maintain core learning objectives from current core curriculum
    • Evolution and statistics should be introduced early and reinforced throughout the curriculum
    • The foundational courses should prepare students for multiple biology related careers
  • CDC Curriculum Recommendation: Spring 2012
    • The CDC presented their recommendations and goals to the department.
  • The Entire Department Worked Together to Refine CDC Recommendation: Fall 2012 and Spring 2013
    • Department held a retreat to discuss CDC recommendation.
    • Subcommittees formed to develop learning objectives that every biology students should know.
    • Department approved learning objectives we integrated into the foundational curriculum.
    • Learning objectives were grouped into potential foundational course models.
  • Moving Forward with a 5 Course Foundational Sequence: Fall 2013 and Spring 2014
    • The department voted and approved to move forward with a 5 course foundational course sequence:
      • Founcations o​f Evolution and Diversity
      • Foundations of Cell Biolog​y
      • Foundations of Genetics​
      • Foundations of Form and Function​
      • Foundations of Ecology​
    • Course subcommittees formed and met to refine learning objectives, write master course syllabi, and develop labs.
    • At a spring retreat, master course syllabi were presented and discussed.
  • Development of Courses and Forming a New Biology Program to Follow the Foundational Courses: Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
    • The five foundational courses and labs were further developed.
    • Sub-committees were formed to develop new biology program consisting of the following concentrations:
      • Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation
      • Biomedical, Cell and Molecular Biology
      • Microscopy
      • Secondary Education
    • Student focus groups met to discuss new curriculum.
    • The department met with other departments across campus to introduce our new curriculum.
    • CDC made recommendations on how to implement core competencies into the foundational curriculum.
    • Master course syllabi were approved by the department.
  • Full Course Development: Fall 2015 and Spring 2016
    • Foundational courses with labs are not being fully developed
    • Labs and activities will be tested in existing courses this academic year
  • Teaching Our New Curriculum: Spring 2016 and Beyond
    • Our first foundational course, BIO 111, will be taught in Fall 2016 to begin the new Biology curriculum.
    • The new Bioscience Building opens.
    • We will continue to evaluate our new curriculum for other ways to improve.

View these papers on curricular design: