Graduate Academic Learning Compacts

Year: 2007-2008
College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Biology
Major: Biology
Concentration:  

Mission Statement:

The Graduate Program of the Department of Biology is committed to providing an excellent advanced education, which will focus on the principles of science in general and biology in particular. The Graduate Program offers its students a curriculum that stresses the latest concepts, theories, and technology in the biological sciences; it also provides students with the opportunity to conduct original research with an active scientist. The Graduate Program of the Department of Biology will remain relevant to the overall goals of the Department using pedagogical techniques including advanced courses in the biological sciences that complement existing undergraduate classes. In addition, a primary goal of the Graduate Program of the Department of Biology is to support original scientific research that is of high quality and suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals. The Graduate Program provides a structured system to implement and provide an assessment (accountability) of the advanced degrees (M.S. and M.A.) offered by the Department of Biology. An additional objective of the Graduate Program of the Department of Biology is to make the University of North Florida a regional leader in the biological sciences through its recognition of outstanding teaching and research. The quality of the program is assessed by tracking graduate student metrics (such as GRE scores and grade point average), student research (which includes publications and presentations), grantsmanship, and employment or academic placement of program graduates.
Student Learning Outcomes:

    
Outcome:   


Achieved a comprehensive knnowledge of the biological sciences with an emphasis in Ecology/Evolution or Molecular and Cell Biology/Microbiology. This knowledge was demonstrated through the completion of a research thesis that met all student learning outcomes for the Biology Program.



    
Outcome:   


Demonstrated writing and critical thinking skills that were commensurate with a graduate level (Masters) degree in the biological sciences. These skills were represented in the research thesis that was submitted to the student's graduate thesis committee for evaluation.



    
Outcome:   


Achieved advanced practical research skills in both laboratory and field settings by conducting original scientific research. These skills involved the application of laboratory or field methodology to the collection, analysis, and evaluation of biological data for use in the graduate research thesis.



    
Outcome:   


Collected, analyzed, and related original scientific data using appropriate research design, statistical analysis, and methodological techniques to existing evidence in the biological sciences.



    
Outcome:   


Developed advanced scientific writing, analytical, and presentation skills culminating in a thesis and public oral thesis defense. Research papers were written from data included in the research thesis and were used for publication in scientific journals. The same data were used to make posters or Powerpoint presentations to present at scientific meetings.



    
Outcome:   


Mastery of the concepts of Biology was achieved as judged by the student's research committee on the student's performance on an oral comprehensive examination.


Curriculum Map:

Assessment Approaches:

The quality and success of the Graduate Program in the Department of Biology will be assessed in a number of ways: 1) Oral comprehensive exams will be used to test if students have a baseline knowledge of freshman level biology and a greater understanding of their field, 2) A written thesis (M.S. program) or review paper (M.A. program) will be expected of each student completing the respective graduate program, 3) Students will be encouraged to present their scientific research at science meetings in the form of poster or oral presentations, 4) Students will be encouraged to publish their scientific research in peer reviewed journals, 5) Students will be asked to complete an assessment analysis of the graduate program upon completion their respective program of study.