Biology Curriculum Redesigned Based on Vision & Change 2011

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Title of Abstract: Biology Curriculum Redesigned Based on Vision & Change 2011

Name of Author: Nancy Staub
Author Company or Institution: Gonzaga University
Author Title: Professor
PULSE Fellow: No
Applicable Courses: All Biological Sciences Courses
Course Levels: Across the Curriculum, Introductory Course(s)
Approaches: Changes in Classroom Approach (flipped classroom, clickers, POGIL, etc.), Material Development, Theme/topic of class
Keywords: Information Flow, Energy Flow, Curriculum design, Introductory Biology, Phage lab

Name, Title, and Institution of Author(s): Brook O. Swanson, Gonzaga University Marianne Poxleitner, Gonzaga University Kirk Anders, Gonzaga University

Goals and intended outcomes of the project or effort, in the context of the Vision and Change report and recommendations: increase retention increase engagement increase comprehension increase critical thinking skills increase sense of community among students

Describe the methods and strategies that you are using: The AAAS Vision and Change document defines biological literacy as having a basic understanding of the following core biological concepts: evolution, structure and function, information flow, energy flow, and systems. We designed a new introductory series of classes that uses two of these concepts as major organizing principles, while addressing all of the core concepts. The first course, which is taken by all biology majors and pre-health career professionals, is built on the theme of information flow. The second core class is based on the theme of energy flow. Both courses use case studies to explore questions from a systems perspective, asking students to integrate understanding from molecules and cells to organisms and evolution. The three required courses that follow these are Genetics, Ecology, and Physiology and Diversity. The lab course for Information Flow in Biological Systems is based on the first semester of the HHMI SEA-PHAGES course, modified to accommodate all 350+ introductory students. The engagement facilitated by this discovery-based research in the first year of college is critical to retention rates in science, development of scientific competencies, and student motivation. We want all our introductory students to reap these benefits by participating in our one-semester revised phage lab. Biology majors will continue the phage project in the Genetics class with modules on annotating phage genomes and cloning fragments of unsequenced phage genomes for tentative cluster identification. Because our introductory biology class serves students from many other majors, Biology majors often do not develop as a close cohort in their first year. To remedy this, we now offer a one-credit Biology-Pathways class to all our incoming freshmen. This course facilitates the development of a learning community among students and should increase retention, especially of underrepresented minorities.

Describe the evaluation methods that you used (or intended to use) to determine whether the project or effort achieved the desired goals and outcomes: We use the CURE survey in labs, and assess freshmen and seniors for overall science competencies.

Impacts of project or effort on students, fellow faculty, department or institution. If no time to have an impact, anticipated impacts: Increased retention in the Biology major Increased working knowledge/science competencies of biology, from molecular to evolutionary levels Increased engagement in the material and motivation Increased critical thinking skills

Describe any unexpected challenges you encountered and your methods for dealing with them: Scaling up the SEA-PHAGES lab for over 300 students/year was challenging. We modified the typical two-semester lab to one semester for introductory students. Biology majors will then continue the phage project in the 200-level Genetics class with modules on annotating phage genomes and cloning fragments of unsequenced phage genomes for tentative cluster identification.

Describe your completed dissemination activities and your plans for continuing dissemination: Plans to publish phage lab strategies and curriculum re-design success once we have assessment data.

Acknowledgements: Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Undergraduate Science Education Program, NSF-TUES program.