Learning Goals

The Biology Department has defined the learning goals for Biology majors to include both the acquisition of facts and concepts (met by the present course requirements) and the acquisition of skills and perspectives. These learning goals should not only prepare our students for a variety of career paths, but also provide them with the tools to be life-long learners in the rapidly evolving world of biological sciences. Below is an outline of the skills and perspectives we believe are desirable for students graduating with a degree in Biology.

I. Skills

  1. Ability to observe and describe nature accurately
  2. Ability to construct logical arguments in biology
    1. Generate and state testable hypotheses
    2. Develop and elaborate models
  3. Ability to critique logical arguments in biology
    1. Design experiments to test hypotheses
    2. Recognize possible outcomes and assess the probability of occurrences
    3. Collect, organize, and analyze relevant data
    4. Draw conclusions and evaluate their relative quality
  4. Ability to communicate ideas and arguments effectively both orally and in writing
  5. Ability to work effectively in a team
  6. Ability to apply problem-solving to learning
    1. Develop strategies for identifying deficits in knowledge
    2. Acquire information gathering and study skills
    3. Self-assess progress in learning
  7. Ability to apply quantitative reasoning to biological questions
    1. Construct and interpret graphs and plots
    2. Analyze data using statistical methods

II. Perspectives

  1. Appreciation that learning changes "how one thinks" as well as "what one knows"
  2. Appreciation for self-motivated, curiosity-driven learning
  3. Ability to approach novel problems with flexibility, creativity, and confidence
  4. Appreciation for the interconnectedness of knowledge
  5. Appreciation that the pursuit of science can be exciting and fulfilling
  6. Confidence in oneself as a College-Trained Biologist
  7. Appreciation for the diversity of living things and the diversity of approaches used to study them
  8. Appreciation for the impact of biological science on the environment and society