Undergraduate Program Evaluation & Renewal Projects

TitleDefining and mapping program learning outcomes for the Biology curriculum: empowering students and faculty in the development of core knowledge and competencies
Faculty/College/UnitScience
Dep't or UnitBotany
StatusActive
Duration3 Years
Initiation04/01/2019
Project Summary

Students often have difficulty seeing the connections between what is taught and assessed in one course, and the knowledge and skills they can expect to build across their degree. Similarly, it is difficult for faculty to evaluate what students receive from their courses within the larger context of an academic program. This project will articulate clear program-level learning outcomes and competencies (PLOs) for the Biology Program, map PLOs across the curriculum, and analyze our current program to determine the extent to which it allows students to achieve those PLOs.

Project objectives:

  1. Work with faculty, students, and other stakeholders (alumni, employers, graduate programs) to reach a consensus on PLOs for Biology program graduates.
  2. Map PLOs, course experiences, and assessments across the curriculum, and assess the learning achievements of students.
  3. Evaluate areas in which curriculum and student learning are well-aligned with PLOs, and identify opportunities for improvement.
  4. Communicate to students and faculty the connections between course- and program-level PLOs, and highlight opportunities for students to build upon skills across the curriculum.

The project’s outcomes will make it easier for both students and faculty to understand and appreciate connections between courses, and the progression of PLOs across the curriculum. By making PLOs transparent, this project will enhance the student experience and empower students to become more self-motivated and self-directed learners. It will also highlight how existing course experiences help students develop key transferable skills and identify areas where program renewal and realignment are needed, enabling future positive change.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2019/2020
Year 1: Project TypeProgram Renewal
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorSunita Chowrira
Year 1: Funded Amount44,000
Year 1: Team Members

Sunita Chowrira, Professor of Teaching, Botany / Acting Associate Head, Biology, Faculty of Science
Shona Ellis, Professor of Teaching / Associate Head, Biology, Faculty of Science
Patricia Schulte, Professor, Zoology, Faculty of Science
Angie O’Neill, Senior Instructor, Zoology, Faculty of Science
Erica Jeffery, Science Education Specialist, Zoology / Skylight, Faculty of Science
Christine Goedhart, Science Education Specialist, Botany / Skylight, Faculty of Science

Year 2: Project YearYear 2
Year 2: Funding Year2020/2021
Year 2: Project TypeProgram Renewal
Year 2: Principal InvestigatorSunita Chowrira
Year 2: Funded Amount32,650
Year 2: Team Members

Sunita Chowrira, Professor of Teaching, Botany / Associate Head, Biology, Faculty of Science
Patricia Schulte, Professor / Chair, Curriculum Committee, Zoology, Faculty of Science
Angie O’Neill, Senior Instructor, Zoology / Science Curriculum Committee, Faculty of Science
Jaclyn Dee, Science Education Specialist, Zoology / Skylight, Faculty of Science
Christine Goedhart, Science Education Specialist, Botany / Skylight, Faculty of Science

Year 2: ShowcaseYear 2: Showcase
Year 3: Project YearYear 3
Year 3: Funding Year2021/2022
Year 3: Project TypeProgram Renewal
Year 3: Principal InvestigatorSunita Chowrira
Year 3: Funded Amount32,000
Year 3: Team Members

Sunita Chowrira, Professor of Teaching, Botany / Associate Head, Biology, Faculty of Science
Patricia Schulte, Professor / Chair, Curriculum Committee, Zoology, Faculty of Science
Angie O’Neill, Associate Professor of Teaching, Zoology, Faculty of Science
Erica Jeffery, Science Education Specialist, Zoology / Skylight, Faculty of Science
Christine Goedhart, Science Education Specialist, Botany / Skylight, Faculty of Science