Biology Program Review Assessment Update - West Liberty ...

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              Program Review Assessment Update
 I.   Student Learning Outcome: Provide at least three Student Learning Outcomes for the
      program that are specifically stated (the student will . . .) and that are easily measurable.

      The Biology program identified specific student learning objectives (SLOs) for the 10 majors
      in Biology [General Biology Major, Pre-Professional (Biology) Major, Pre-Medicine Major,
      Pre-Veterinary Major, Human Biology Major, Microbiology Major, DEAP (Dental Early
      Admission Program), Environmental Stewardship and Education, Ecology, Evolution, and
      Organismal Biology (EEOB), and Zoo Science Major (new Spring 2016)]. Upon graduating
      with a degree in the Biological Sciences, students will address the following SLOs:
      A. Comprehensive knowledge base specific to course of study (GS 2)
           1. Freshman competency in key themes
           2. Upperclassman competency in core concepts
      B. Critical thinking and communication skills (GS 1,2)
           1. Critical thinking skills
           2. Orally present biological ideas
           3. Present in written format biological ideas
      C. Acquired basic laboratory and/or field biology skills (GS 1,2)
           1. Demonstrate proficiency in laboratory techniques
           2. Demonstrate proficiency in laboratory writing skills
      D. Ability to evaluate and discuss scientific literature and relate scientific advances to
          contemporary issues (GS 1, 2, 3)
           1. Demonstrate competence in the cohesive attributes of the sciences
           2. Evaluate, discuss and present primary literature
           3. Relate science and scientific advancement to the human condition
           4. Employ information-gathering tools
      The reports of this analysis and the corresponding curriculum mapping is included (see attached
      curriculum maps). These courses were rated based on the different levels of student learning of
      course material:
            1. K, A, or S:                               3. A= Application/Analysis, and
            2. K= Knowledge/Comprehension,               4. S= Synthesis/Evaluation
      In general, BIO 100-200 level courses, which are based on comprehension of material, were rated
      K, and BIO 300-400 courses, which require more critical thinking, are rated A and/or S. Please
      note, that curriculum map SLOs are consistently updated by instructors when course material is
      changed. In addition, faculty are currently including specific course objectives in the syllabi of
      their courses (COs), which address these SLOs on their syllabi
II.   General Studies Integration: Describe how/where the University General Studies student
      learning outcomes and are integrated and assessed in the program. It is an expectation that
      every program will be able to incorporate all three GS outcomes into their
      program's assessment plan.
      1. Communication: Upon completion of the General Studies Program at WLU, students
          will communicate with clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness.
      2. Analysis: Upon completion of the General Studies program at WLU, students will
          apply appropriate concepts and methods to analyze, evaluate, and interpret information
          or texts, implementing suitable strategies to solve problems or relate analyses as
      3. Self and Cultural Awareness: Upon completion of the General Studies program at
          WLU, students will reflect objectively on the human condition through investigation,
          appreciation, and evaluation of the products, perceptions, expressions, and
          interrelationships of various cultures.

               Program Review Assessment Update
           Goals one and two are reflected in the Biology SLOs and are recognized in the specific
           syllabi of corresponding courses. Goal three. may not be fully addressed in all Biology
           courses as not all material has a global dimension, however, we are including this goal in
           individual Biology courses wherever possible (example is the Grading Rubric for Bio 480).

III.   Assessment Method (Measures/Instruments): Describe assessment methods used and
       include examples of both direct and indirect measures.
       Direct Measures are evaluations of student work and some examples include: exams, papers,
       projects, computer programs, interaction with a client, or musical performances
       Indirect Measures include asking students/graduates how well they thought they learned and
       examples include: senior surveys, exit interviews, alumni surveys, and focused groups.

       Program assessment in the Biology program is an on-going process that has continued since
       the last BOG Review. The faculty of the Biology program have identified criteria for review
       of individual majors, worked together to develop general Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
       for biology students, updated curriculum maps, completed reviews of all individual majors,
       and implemented improvements, and we implemented direct and indirect methods in our
       Direct: tests/evaluations included pre- and post-course assessment tests, instructor evaluations
       (by standardized rubric) of student assignments (including term papers, lab reports, student-
       written reflections etc).
       Indirect: tests/evaluations included surveys from graduating seniors, collecting information on
       graduates of the program, such as average MCAT scores (where available), the number of former
       students who are in graduate or professional schools, teaching, and field-related jobs etc. A copy
       of the senior survey is attached (in the Appendix).

       All majors offered by the program (excluding a new Zoo Science Major offered spring 2016)
       have been regularly assessed by the Department Faculty. During this assessment a faculty
       member analyzes results of direct and indirect tests/evaluations for a given major and presents
       his/her finding to the department. To this end, the faculty completed and evaluated Analysis of
       the changes in the student enrollment;
       1. Curriculum comparison with comparable majors from other universities;
       2. Analysis of feedback from our alumni;
       3. Analysis of feedback from several professionals/employers/graduate schools;
       4. Analysis of SLOs mapping; and
       5. Content mapping of curriculum when needed. The department held monthly meetings
           dedicated to the assessment. Based on these evaluations a number of modifications to the
           curriculum were introduced (more below).

       Direct Methods: Pre- and Post-Assessment Tests are administered for the following courses:
       BIO 124 (Biological Principles), BIO 200 (Botany and lab), BIO 202/203 (Zoology and lab), BIO
       325 (Microbiology), BIO 401 (Genetics), BIO 460 (Molecular Biology), and BIO 480 (Biology
       Capstone; exit exam only).

       In AY 2016-2017 students gained, on average, 30.0% in their post- versus pre-assessment tests.
       During AY 2017-2018 (ongoing), students gained, on average, 22%.

            Program Review Assessment Update
                                           AY 2016-2017
                                        Pretest       Posttest      %
                                    Avg.% St. Dev. Avg.% St. Dev. Change
                         BIO124       43%     14%     64%      17%     21%
                         BIO200       42%     14%     69%      15%     27%
                         BIO202       39%     14%     66%      22%     27%
                         BIO325       33%     11%     67%      11%     34%
                         BIO401       37%     10%     62%      14%     25%
                         BIO460       32%     13%     78%      13%     45%

`   AY 2017-2018 (ongoing)

                                          AY 2017-2018
                                        Pretest       Posttest      %
                                    Avg.% St. Dev. Avg.% St. Dev. Change
                         BIO124       42%     14%     64%      19%     22%
                         BIO200       48%     13%     64%      14%     16%
                         BIO325       31%     10%     41%      13%     10%
                         BIO460       39%     11%     79%      10%     40%

    The tests results for each course were analyzed by the course instructor (example of the analysis
    is provided below).
    Examples of the Pre- and Post-Test analysis, Bio401 (Spring 2017): There was a 50% increase in
    the median score from the pre-test to the post-test indicating that students did expand their
    knowledge base of genetics by taking the course. Additionally, for 75% of the questions, more
    students answered correctly on the post-test compared to the pre-test providing further support
    that the course objectives were met. Questions where little improvement was observed from pre-
    test to post-test focused on modes of inheritance which will be discussed more heavily in the
    Examples of the Pre- and Post- Test analysis, Bio124 (Spring 2017): There was a 20% increase in
    the median score from the pre-test to the post-test indicating that students did gain some
    knowledge of biology by taking the course. Additionally, for 2/3 of the questions, more students
    answered correctly on the post-test compared to the pre-test providing further support that most of
    the course objectives were met. Questions where little improvement was observed from pre-test
    to post-test focused on material that was not covered in the course due to time constraints.
    Please note, that the assessment eventually lead to the reorganization of BIO124 for fall 2017 to
    ensure all outlined topics are discussed; courses that cover related material with additional detail
    have been developed for 2017-2018 (Bio207 and Bio208) that are specific to ecology-based
    majors or biomedical-based majors (respectively) and taken after successful completion of
    Bio124. These courses will have an active study component to increase comprehension of more
    complex concepts that have been simplified in the initial Bio124 course (more below).
    Direct method: Course evaluations based on rubric: In AY2016-2017 and AY 2017-2018
    (ongoing): As evident from our mapping, we have a number of classes in which students are
    assessed based on written paper and/or oral presentation, including BIO 303 (A&P I), BIO 334
    (A&P II), BIO 306 (Biotechnology I), BIO 321 (Biotechnology II), BIO 317 (Immunology), BIO
    401 (Genetics), BIO 460 (Molecular Biology), and BIO 480 (Biology Capstone). All of these

        Program Review Assessment Update
classes adopted Programmatic Assessment Key that may or may not be modified even further to
reflect specific requirements for a class (different classes have different format of the assessment
reports). If the basic rubric is used, each of the rubric elements is linked to the program SLO (see
below), and scored as Advanced (5 points), Proficient (4 points), Adequate (3 points), Limited (2
points), or Inadequate (1 points).
Papers/Term Paper: Using GS Writing Assessment Rubric modified for Biology
                  Biology SLO                   Rubric Element(s)
         1b: Upperclassmen will        Content
          demonstrate competency in core
          2a: Students will demonstrate        Content
          proficiency in critical thinking     Scientific explanation
          skills                               Critical thinking
                                               Science & the Human relationship
          2c: Students will present in written Content
          format biological ideas              Controlling idea
                                               Scientific explanation
                                               Critical thinking
                                               Science & the Human relationship
          4a: Students will demonstrate        Content
          competence in the cohesive           Scientific explanation
          attributes of the sciences           Critical thinking
          4b: Evaluate, discuss, and present Critical Thinking
          primary literature                   Content
                                               Scientific explanation
                                               Science & the Human relationship
          4c: Relate science and scientific Science & the Human relationship
          advancement to the human
          4d: Students will employ           Critical thinking
          information-gathering tools        Content
                                             Scientific explanation

Benchmark: Scores at adequate (3) or higher at least 75% of the time for each SLO.

        Program Review Assessment Update
Presentations: Using General Studies Presentation Assessment Rubric modified for Biology
                          Biology SLO                           Rubric Element(s)
1b: Competency in core concepts                            Content
2a: Proficiency in critical thinking skills                Supporting material
                                                           Central message
                                                           Question & Answer
2b: Present orally biological ideas                        Organization
                                                           Presentation Aids
                                                           Supporting material
                                                           Central message
                                                           Question & Answer
4a: Competence in the cohesive attributes of the sciences  Supporting material
4b: Evaluate, discuss, and present primary literature      Content
                                                           Supporting material
                                                           Central message
                                                           Question & Answer
4c: Relate science and scientific advancement to the human Central message

4d: Employ information-gathering tools                        Presentation Aids
                                                              Supporting material

Benchmark: Scores equivalent to or better than adequate (3) at least 75% of the time.
BIO 303 and BIO 334 students (A&P I and II labs) were evaluated on their lab report using a
modified rubric. The lab report was prepared in a format of a regular research paper, had to have
a proper statistical analysis. The report required to search for and cite a minimum of 3 scientific
publications on the topic. There was a significant improvement in the performance of the students
between BIO 303 and BIO 334 courses.

BIO 401 students were evaluated on their research proposal on an assigned genetic disorder using
a standard rubric. They were required to search for and cite a minimum of 7 scientific papers.
Students showed improved proficiency in understanding and application of results from scientific
papers and adequate or better in scientific explanation from scientific papers. BIO 401 students
also were evaluated based on the oral presentation. All students scored proficient or advanced in
organization, language, vocal/facial delivery categories. The scores related to Biology specific
parameters (including central message, scientist content, and critical thinking) were in advanced
or proficient category for 96% of the students.

        Program Review Assessment Update
BIO 460 students were evaluated on their scientific writing skills on their term paper using a
standard rubric. Over 93% of them demonstrated proficiency or higher for all SLOs (an example
of assessment is provided below).
      Fall 2016: Paper Assessment Tally




                                                %                           %                   %                      %                       %
     BIO 460 Assessment                                                                                                                            Total
                                               Adv                         Pro                 Adeq                   Lim                     Inad

     Purpose/Thesis                  6 40% 5 33%                                         2       13%            1      7%              1            7%         15
     Organization                    5 33% 8 53%                                         1        7%                   0%              1            7%         15
     Content                         5 33% 2 13%                                         5       33%            3     20%                           0%         15
     Style                           6 40% 4 27%                                         4       27%                   0%              1            7%         15
     Mechanics                       2 13% 10 67%                                        2       13%            1      7%                           0%         15
     Format                             0% 11 73%                                        4       27%                   0%                           0%         15
     Scientific Explanation          5 33% 2 13%                                         4       27%            3     20%              1            7%         15
     Critical Thinking               4 27% 4 27%                                         5       33%            1      7%              1            7%         15
     Science & Humans                6 40% 8 53%                                                  0%                   0%              1            7%         15

Comments: Two students were required to rewrite the critical literature review. Both students
succeeded in passing the course.
Assessment in BIO 480 class is critically important as the class serves as the program Capstone
course. In this class students were evaluated on their writing skills and the presentation. The
majority of the faculty of the program observe and are involved in the evaluation of the oral
presentation. Examples of such assessments are provided below. Please note that BIO 480 was
modified for the Fall 2017 based on the students’ feedback (see below).
        Fall 2016: Paper Assessment Tally




              BIO 480                                  %                           %                       %                     %
             Assessment                               Adv                         Pro                     Adeq                  Lim
       Purpose/Thesis                           2 18%                      7      64%               1      9%             1 9%                 0              11
       Organization                             3 27%                      4      36%               2     18%             2 18%                0              11
       Content                                  3 27%                      3      27%               5     45%                0%                0              11
       Style                                    2 18%                      4      36%               4     36%             1 9%                 0              11
       Mechanics                                   0%                      9      82%               1      9%             1 9%                 0              11
       Format                                      0%                      8      73%               3     27%                0%                0              11
       Scientific Explanation                   2 18%                      4      36%               3     27%             2 18%                0              11
       Critical Thinking                        3 27%                      4      36%               4     36%                0%                0              11
       Science & Humans                         5 45%                      4      36%                      0%             2 18%                0              11

Comments: Two students were required to rewrite the critical literature review. Both students
succeeded in passing the course. All limited scores belonged to the papers requiring rewrites.

            Program Review Assessment Update
           Fall 2016: Presentation Assessment Tally




                  BIO 480                      %                  %                %                %
                 Assessment                   Adv                Pro              Adeq             Lim
           Organization                 4     36%         4      36%        3     27%        0     0%     0              11
           Languages Choices            4     36%         6      55%        1      9%        0     0%     0              11
           Vocal Delivery               3     27%         6      55%        2     18%        0     0%     0              11
           Physical Delivery            4     36%         6      55%        1      9%        0     0%     0              11
           Facial Delivery              5     45%         5      45%        1      9%        0     0%     0              11
           Presentation Aids            2     18%         6      55%        3     27%        0     0%     0              11
           Supporting Material          3     27%         6      55%        2     18%        0     0%     0              11
           Central Message              5     45%         4      36%        2     18%        0     0%     0              11
           Science Content              4     36%         5      45%        2     18%        0     0%     0              11
           Q&A                          1      9%         8      73%        2     18%        0     0%     0              11

Comments: All students passed the presentation on the first attempt. In all categories, students were
assessed at >70% proficient to advanced. No students were assessed below adequate in any category.
Largest weaknesses were organization and presentation aids.

Indirect Methods: We assess the majors and courses also based on feedback provided by faculty and
students. Indirect method: Course evaluations based on assessment by faculty

During Fall 2016- Fall 2017 Faculty accomplished review of all majors offered by the Program (an
example of such review for the Human Biology, Pre-Med, and Pre-Professional majors can be found
in the attachment). The review included 1) verification of the enrollment during last 2-5 years; 2)
evaluation of a few similar majors from comparable universities and comparison of their curriculum
to our curriculum; 3) feedback from some successful alumni and several
professionals/employers/graduate schools in the field; and 4) generation and evaluation of the
curriculum maps. The data were presented and discussed during the Biology Program Assessment
Meetings (scheduled monthly).
Based on these discussions the program identified some specific weaknesses in the content delivery,
accomplished the content mapping, and modified the curriculum accordingly. As result of these
efforts two new courses are developed and offered starting Spring 2018. BIO 208, Foundations in
Cell and Molecular Biology, concentrates on the topics like Macromolecules, Enzyme
kinetics/thermodynamics, Metabolism, DNA Replication, Transcription, Translation, Mutation, Cell
Cycle, Mitosis, Meiosis, Heredity, Cell Structure/Function, Signal Transduction/Communication.
BIO 207, Fundamentals of Ecology and Biodiversity, has Evolution, Ecology, Organismal Focus and
concentrates on Evolution – Macroevolution, Evolution – Central tenants, Linean systematics,
Species concepts and frameworks, Basic ecology – water, nitrogen, and soil cycles, Mendelian
genetics, Basic phylogenetics – Bayesian taxonomy, Prokaryotes (morphology, broad taxonomy),
Eukaryotes (basic botany/zoology), and Developmental biology. These courses include an active
study session to develop students’ study skills and comprehension of complex topics by actively
applying them in small group formats.

        Program Review Assessment Update
Indirect method: Course evaluations based on anecdotal assessment by students
Our BIO 480 exit survey and poll on the strengths and weaknesses of the Biology Program, also
includes a session with the Dean of the College of Sciences and the Chair of the Department of
Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Please see attached document (in the Appendix, Attachment
3) for the example of the exit survey/poll for graduating seniors. Responses from the survey and
poll indicated that graduating students are generally satisfied or very satisfied with the Biology
program and complimented faculty on being accessible, explaining concepts well, wanting to see
students succeed, and having research opportunities for students.
We recognize that at the time of their graduation students have a very limited ability to evaluate
the program objectively. Despite of it, we enjoy having very positive evaluations from our recent
graduated. The recommendations regarding specific courses can be useful for improvement of
these classes. Below is an example of the suggestions made by the students and supported by the
faculty and our follow up regarding BIO 480 (Biology Capstone) course.
Students’ Suggestions, BIO 480, Spring 2017
All faculty lectures which occurred towards the beginning of the semester were helpful, and in the
future my recommendation would be to increase the amount of these guest/mentor lectures if at
all possible. Though the students of this course did get to hear some very specific tips and tricks
from successful faculty members, it would have been that much more beneficial to hear from
every faculty and staff member. Even differing or conflicting opinions about how to present and
write would be extremely beneficial to students. I think it is important for young adults getting
ready to enter the workforce to realize that it isn’t necessarily true that there is one right way to
do things; but rather, what is important is that you should practice and develop a unique skill set
to the best of your abilities drawing on bits and pieces from all the successful individuals in your
I am saying all this because my recommendation on this experience would be to somehow require
that the student finish their presentation a week in advance. Perhaps make a closed practice
session to a few fellow class mates a graded requirement? I am suggesting this because I know
that even though finishing early and practicing a lot ahead of time is in my best interest, it will not
happen unless grades require it. I feel many classmates are in the same boat concerning this issue.
However, maybe that is just a part of what capstone is meant to teach us.
I think making a mandatory meeting with one of the professors prior to presenting should be
looked at.
Based on these recommendations the following changes were introduced:
BIO 480 – Capstone Changes for Fall 2017
1. Each student will have a capstone committee consisting of two faculty (one from discipline,
   one outside discipline) and two students.
   a. Student will have to either email PowerPoint + transcript of presentation to committee
       OR present for the committee at least one week prior to actual presentation date (faculty
       choose format and timeline)
   b. Faculty on committee must be at actual presentation, so student will have to pick a
       presentation date when committee is available
   c. Change made based on student feedback and faculty assessment of presentations
2. Faculty will attend at least half of the presentations
3. Students will be asked to determine their preference of questions throughout and at the end or
   hold questions until the end – alternatively, we can have all questions held until the end for

             Program Review Assessment Update
         all presentations. Change made primarily for time considerations and to better assess flow of
         presentation (organization)
    4.   I will provide for students a list of all faculty and staff, their areas of specialty, and
         availability to aid in choosing committee members.
    5.   Capstone students will still be required to ask questions of presenter following old guidelines
         (2/3 of presentations).
    6.   Capstone students will remain with the faculty for the private questioning although students
         will not be permitted to ask questions during this session. Change made so that students in
         capstone see the types/depth of questioning to help preparedness (assessment)
    7.   Condense material prior to student presentations to provide opportunity for a ‘faculty
         perspectives’ day where all available faculty and staff can stop by and talk about what they
         like/don’t like in presentations.

Assessment of Human Biology, Pre-Professional, and Pre-Medical Biology Majors
With regard to course scheduling, both the Human Biology and Pre-Professional majors have pitfalls
regarding upper-level biology courses. For example, Vertebrate Zoology, Immunology, Genetics, and
Cellular Biology are only offered in spring semesters. Moreover, the core requirements- Chem II,
Physics II, and Biostatistics* are only offered in the spring semester (*Biostatistics now offered fall
and spring terms). With regard to the Human Biology major, Abnormal Psychology, Personal
Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Physiological Psychology, and Calculus I are only offered in the
spring semester (excluding summer sessions). Pathophysiology (BIO 423) has not been offered since
2011 and should be redeveloped. Developmental Biology (BIO 350) has not been taught for nearly 20
years and should also be developed. Both of these courses are critical for programs related to health
care. Likewise, Neuroscience (BIO 412) has not been positioned with any regularity into the yearly
In 2015, Pre-Medicine major enrollment was 12 (5.1% of total NS&M enrollment of 237. Currently,
it is 30 (13.2% of total NS&M enrollment of 227). Similar to the Pre-Professional major, the Human
Biology major encompasses most of the “major specific” courses of the Pre-Medicine major.
Likewise, the major shares several similarities to the Pre-Professional major. Several of the restricted
electives for the Pre-Medicine major are not currently offered (Pathophysiology BIO 423, Histology
BIO 432, Human Genetics BIO 407) while most of the others are offered only one semester each
academic year. Like the Human Biology major, the Pre-medicine major is relatively new and
therefore, there are few students who have gone to medical school from the major. However, the shift
in enrollment away from the Pre-Professional major may, at least in part, be due to students changing
majors from Pre-Professional to Pre-Medical. Students graduating with the Pre-Professional major
have had great success being accepted into medical schools (D.O., M.D.) and physician assistant
programs, and have thrived while there. Therefore, the outlook for the Pre-Medical major is good.
Pre-Professional students have excelled at both getting accepted into graduate/professional programs
(M.S., Ph.D., D.O., M.D., MPAS, O.D., D.D.S., D.P.M., etc.) and thriving while there. Their
successes have been touted as proof that the curriculum is effective. The dramatic decline in Pre-
Professional majors is concerning; however, the increase in Human Biology and Pre-Medical majors
is likely from a flux of Pre-Professional majors. To that end, the relatively new Human Biology and
Pre-Medical majors vary from the curriculum of the Pre-Professional major in very few courses, if
any. Therefore, as students graduate with Human Biology and Pre-Medical majors, their successes
will likely be reflective of the successes of past students who have undergone training as Pre-
Professional majors. Indeed assessment of the courses within all three majors demonstrates
coursework that is heavy in higher-level synthesis that encompasses both knowledge and analytical

             Program Review Assessment Update
Areas of concern include course timing (i.e. fall vs. spring courses), course offerings in general (e.g.
Pathophysiology, Developmental Biology, Histology, Neurobiology, Human Genetics), and the
ability for students to schedule accordingly. However, with limited faculty numbers and many faculty
already teaching overloaded schedules, it would be difficult to offer more courses.
Additionally, among these majors it would be simple for a student to “triple major” by taking only a
few courses outside of those within the Human Biology major. The Human Biology Major, in
particular, offers great flexibility for students to ‘subfocus’ in different areas of biology in addition to
psychology. However, students among these three different majors are likely to graduate with largely
homogeneous classroom experience.
Assessment of Microbiology, General Biology, Dental Early Admission Program (DEAP), Pre-
Fall 2017: Enrollment in Microbiology has remained constant over the past two years comprising
approximately 2% of the total biology majors. Enrollment in the Pre-Veterinary major has increased
67% from its introduction in 2016 although these students only make up a small percentage of all
biology majors (approximately 2%). There has been a steady decline in General Biology majors over
the past 2 years (~73% decrease from 2015-2017) along with a decline in enrollment in DEAP from
2016-2017 (~80% decrease). It is important to note however that the decline in General Biology and
DEAP corresponded with the introduction of two of the fastest growing majors in the department -
Human Biology (75% increase in enrollment from 2015 to 2017) and Zoo Science (64% increase
from 2016-2017). Furthermore, the total number of students enrolled as Biology majors increased
15% over the past two years indicating that the flux of General Biology and DEAP majors is likely
due to students changing their field of interest.
A degree program in General Biology is found at almost all primarily undergraduate institutions
(PUIs) in the state with a comparable curriculum offered at each school. What distinguishes West
Liberty from these other institutions is we offer a large variety of majors within the biological
sciences in addition to General Biology that are tailored to student’s individual interests. Other
institutions put the responsibility on the student to design their General Biology curriculum based on
their career goals and/or the requirements of their professional school of interest. Here at West
Liberty, ten different biology degree programs are offered within the College of Sciences. As most of
these majors were established only two to three years ago, these different degree programs must
continue to be assessed over the next five years particularly those with low enrollment like Pre-
Veterinary and Microbiology. Since the curriculum of many of these majors is similar to one another,
it may be necessary to consolidate the low enrollment majors with those majors that are on the rise so
students do not fill overwhelmed by the number of options. Regardless, the curriculum of each of
these majors is exceeding students’ expectations with one graduate stating she was “more than
adequately prepared for the rigors of graduate-level coursework.
Although enrollment in DEAP has declined over the past year, it is an essential program to maintain
at West Liberty because of its success. While Pre-Dental programs exist at other West Virginia state
institutions, West Liberty is the only PUI to establish an early acceptance program with an in-state
dentistry school. Our program has a 100% success rate with all students that have graduated the
program currently matriculating at the WVU School of Dentistry. A previous DEAP graduate stated
that “participating in the DEAP program was the best decision of my college career. The classes that
are provided in the DEAP program gave me a great foundation for the general science classes that I
had to take throughout my first two years of dental school.” He also recommended a few areas for
improvement within the curriculum specifically more hands-on experience in anatomy and
physiology and more of a biological perspective in biochemistry. These concerns have been
addressed with the development of two new courses: Human Gross Anatomy (Bio473) in 2016 and
Biological Chemistry (Bio470) beginning in Fall 2018. In Human Gross Anatomy, students learn
anatomical features and structures of the human body through cadaveric dissection. Biological

                                                                                               10 | P a g e
                 Program Review Assessment Update
     Chemistry will be offered to biology students as an alternative to Biochemistry (CHEM480) to better
     prepare students for entry into medical, dental, and other professional schools.
     Similar to DEAP, the Pre-Veterinary program is an asset and great recruitment tool for West Liberty
     as it is the sole PUI in the state that offers this major. The curriculum for this program is very similar
     to the curriculum listed for our Pre-Professional major with the exception of a few courses including
     Vertebrate Zoology (Bio343), Parasitology (Bio356), Animal Nutrition (Bio456), and Reproductive
     Physiology (Bio458). Since this program is only in its second year, it difficult to assess as there have
     yet to be any graduates from the program to solicit feedback from or track job placement. However,
     one potential shortcoming of the program is its lack of affiliation with a specific veterinary school.
     Interest in this program may be increased if the university establishes relationships with regional
     veterinary schools like the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine similar to the
     Pre-Vet Program at WVU. If enrollment in this major remains low over the next five years, it may
     be worth considering eliminating this major and having students interested in veterinary school enroll
     as Pre-Professional majors. The student’s advisor can then properly counsel the student as to what
     courses to take as electives to meet the requirements for veterinary school.



                       Graduating Student Survey Continuation


 1     Satisfied with the quality of instruction by the Biology faculty.                      1           2              3         4             5
 2     Most Biology faculty prepare carefully for their courses.                              1           2              3         4             5
 3     Grading practices are fair and appropriate in Biology.                                 1           2              3         4             5
 4     There is mutual respect between Biology faculty and Biology students.                  1           2              3         4             5
 5     Biology faculty is genuinely interested in the welfare of their students.              1           2              3         4             5
 6     Biology faculty is willing to help with questions/problems.                            1           2              3         4             5
 7     Satisfied with the quality of academic advising in Biology.                            1           2              3         4             5
 8     My academic advisor provides me with accurate information.                             1           2              3         4             5
 9     My academic advisor shows an interest in me personally.                                1           2              3         4             5
10     My academic advisor is someone I would recommend to other students.                    1           2              3         4             5
11     My academic advisor refers me to appropriate resources on campus.                      1           2              3         4             5
12     Biology degree requirements are clearly defined.                                       1           2              3         4             5
13     Content of Biology courses are current and up-to-date.                                 1           2              3         4             5
14     Laboratories helped you understand course material.                                    1           2              3         4             5
15     I feel confident with the laboratory skills I have acquired.                           1           2              3         4             5
16     Research opportunities were available if desired.                                      1           2              3         4             5
17     Internship opportunities are publicized and encouraged.                                1           2              3         4             5
       In advising sessions, advisor was helpful in discussing internship
18     parameters & possibilities.                                                            1           2 3 4                                  5
       I feel the curriculum within the Biology program has provided me with the
19     foundation to achieve my personal education/career goals.                              1           2 3 4                                  5
       I feel I have improved my skills in thinking critically and in
20     communicating information in writing and in oral presentation.                         1           2 3 4                                  5
21     I would recommend the Biology program at WLU to someone else.                          1           2 3 4                                  5

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             Program Review Assessment Update

If you would like to add any comments pertaining to the program, please write them in the space
below and on the back of the page.

Graduating Student Survey Continuation- Biology Program Tally AY2016-2017
                                                     (1) Very      (2)       (3)      (4)     (5) Very
                 Survey Question                    Unsatisfied Unsatisfied Neutral Satisfied Satisfied
  1   1. Quality of Instruction                                                        9%    91%
  2   2. Faculty prepared                                                             26%    74%
  3   3. Grading fair/approp.                                                         26%    74%
  4   4. Mutual respect                                                       4%       4%    91%
  5   5. Faculty interested                                                   4%       9%    87%
  6   6. Faculty helpful                                                               9%    91%
  7   7. Quality of advising                                                  4%      30%    65%
  8   8. Advising info accurate                                                       26%    74%
  9   9. Advisor interested                                                   4%      13%    83%
 10   10. Recommend advisor                                                   4%       9%    87%
 11   11. Advisor refers approp                                       4%      4%      26%    65%
 12   12. Bio degree req clear                                                4%      17%    78%
 13   13. Content current                                                             13%    87%
 14   14. Labs helpful                                                       17%      26% 56.50%
 15   15. Confident w/ lab skills                                             9%      35% 56.50%
 16   16. Research opp. available                                                      9%    91%
 17   17. Internships publicized                                                      39%    61%
 18   18. Advisor helps w/ internship                                 4%      4%      30%    61%
 19   19. Curriculum appropriate                                                       9%    91%
 20   20. Critical+ communication skills improved                                     13%    87%
 21   21. Recommend Bio program?                                                           100%

Below are the collective comments from the seniors in BIO 480, Spring 2017:
1. Advising: Faculty go out of their way to help
2. Would you do the program again? Yes or Needs to be promoted better
   • Zoology is much harder than the rest of the classes
   • Biostats II, focused on R, would be great
4. Most beneficial course: BIO 221 Biostats because of application
5. Physics is frustrating
6. List restricted electives that are actually offered
7. Better resource organization (finding implements needed to do lab – one person went to four
   different labs to find a scalpel)

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              Program Review Assessment Update
IV.   Location of Measures: Describe the method, implementation and location of assessment

      The Biology program at West Liberty University serves 189 students that pursue one of 12
      biology majors (includes the two 3+2 options for the MS Bio and MSPAS assessed through the
      Human Biology and General Biology standard majors) offered by the department. All biology
      majors are required to take 12 semester hours of Biology Core Courses, including BIO 124/125 –
      Introductory Biology and lab, BIO 200 – Botany and lab, BIO 202/203 – Zoology and lab. The
      only exceptions are the Pre-Medicine/Pre-Osteopathic Medicine Biology major, Human Biology
      Major, and WLU/WVU DEAP (West Virginia University Dental Early Admission Program) that
      do not have a requirement to take BIO 200. In addition to these Biology Core Courses, students
      also take Core Courses in Chemistry (8 semester hours: CHEM 110/111, CHEM 112/113 –
      General Chemistry and lab I and II), Physics (8 semester hours: PHYS 101/112, PHYS 102/111 –
      Elementary Physics and lab I and II) and Mathematics (6 semester hours: MATH 145 Pre-
      Calculus or Calculus, and MATH 160 - Introduction to Statistics or BIO 221 - Biological
      Statistics and Experimental Design). Pre-medicine majors are required to take the MATH 210
      Calculus and Analytical Geometry I instead MATH 145. Biology majors in General Biology,
      Microbiology, Pre-Professional Biology, EEOB, and ESE are required to take the BIO 221
      (Biostatistics) in place of MATH 160. Therefore, BIO 221 is also included in Biology Core
      Courses assessment.

      The Core Courses (100- and 200-level) serve as prerequisites for a number of a number
      Major-Specific Core Courses (300- and 400-level). These core courses emphasize deeper
      biological content knowledge and laboratory work, including the ability to think and perform
      like a scientist, such as designing and executing experiments, scientific process skills, critical
      thinking, analysis of the scientific primary literature, and written and oral communication. In
      addition to required core courses, students in biology-related majors are required to take other
      300- and 400-level restricted elective courses to fulfill graduation requirements depending on
      their majors. In general, these courses are structured to cover specific biological topics in
      greater detail and depth.

      The curriculum maps (included in a separate attachment) list the courses required for each of
      the majors. The maps illustrate the opportunity for students to develop their cognitive abilities
      through knowledge acquisition and comprehension for introductory-level courses, to
      application and analysis for intermediate-level courses, and to synthesis and evaluation for
      advanced-level courses. Please note, that all information is current (it is verified and updated
      on twice-yearly basis by instructors of the corresponding courses), but excludes a new Zoo
      Science Major.
      Students are also encouraged to further increase their analytical and evaluative skills by
      performing scientific research with WLU faculty, shadow physicians, physician assistants
      and/or dentists, for practical experience credit in BIO 479 (Research or Internship) in parallel
      with their courses as they progress from freshman through senior levels. Through internships,
      they will also be able to communicate scientific principles and conduct research in
      increasingly sophisticated ways, from simple lab reports to research papers, oral
      presentations, and scientific posters on independent research. Students in all majors of
      Biology are required to take BIO 480 (Capstone), which consists of projects [including
      evaluation and discussion of scientific primary literature, preparation of an annotated
      bibliography of these sources, writing a critical literature review on a topic covered in these
      papers (subject to faculty approval), and giving an oral presentation to faculty and students)]
      to assess critical thinking, writing, and communication skills, student cumulative knowledge,

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               Program Review Assessment Update
       and performance, 1-2 semesters prior to graduation. During the seminar on their paper, they
       will be assessed based on their interpretation and clarity of their presentation, background
       information, critical thinking on the subject matter, and their responses during a
       question/answer session from the audience. They are also required to write an essay reflecting
       on their experience in BIO 480. In their senior year, students will be surveyed for their
       perceptions of the strengths and weakness of the Biology program with the Department Co-
       Chair and the Dean through the exit interview.

 V.    Timeline for Assessment Implementation
       Faculty assessment meetings are held once per month. The discussions of the assessment
       outcomes, student weaknesses/deficiencies, and new challenges facing our graduates allows us
       recognition of vital revisions that have been/are being made within courses and major curriculum.
       Other revisions in the program have been/are being developed as new courses or alterations in the

       We also examine our courses to determine if students are attaining program outcomes and
       standards defined on the SLOs. Changes to course syllabi have been made to address student
       learning deficiencies based on the SLOs. The latest curriculum mapping was completed this
       Spring and resulted in the creation of BIO 208 & 207 courses to bridge a gap in achievement for
       pre-professional/pre-health and ecology/evolutionary biology majors. With the advent of several
       new majors and a differential between the pre-professional/pre-health and ecological/organismal
       curricula, curriculum mapping is being revisited to ensure our students are receiving fluid
       instruction and learning in targeted content and skills.

VI.    Implementation of Program Revision
       As evident from above, the implementation of program revision is an ongoing process. As result
       of the program revision, several changes were introduced to the curriculum including two new
       BIO courses (207 & 208) and changes in BIO 480 Capstone class. Some additional changes,
       outlined by faculty as a part of the major review (see above and in the attachment), require
       development of new courses and depend on availability of faculty time and monetary funds. The
       faculty attempt to secure external funds to support development of new curriculum.

VII.   Previous Reviews
       The most recent program review was held in 2015 and passed with some minor recommendations
       that are outlined at the beginning of this document. We continue to follow the assessment plans
       for the expanded SLOs of the Biology program, update other faculty on assessment results, and
       implement changes for program improvement. The assessments are continually collected,
       analyzed and interpreted to allow for curricular and content/skills change as indicated.

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