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Common Advising Questions

Academic Advising

Who is my advisor?

Dr. Alison Esser

What does my advisor do?

  • The primary role of your advisor is to guide you in selecting appropriate courses and the sequence of those courses for your program of study. Each semester you will review your degree audit with your advisor and determine the best set of courses for the next term. Your advisor will then provide your Registration Access Number (RAN) that allows you to register for courses for the following semester.
  • Advisors will help you learn how to interpret university and departmental guidelines and regulations.
  • Advisor’s signatures are required on numerous forms, such as Schedule Change Forms, Honors Program documents, minor, and Curriculum Change Forms. This is to ensure that you have discussed your actions with your advisor.
  • Your advisor can also provide information about scholarships, internships, and career paths. For example, an advisor may explain how and when to apply for graduate and professional programs.

When should I meet with my advisor?

You will need to meet with your advisor at least once every term before your registration start date to confirm your course selections and pick up your RAN. Other meetings will be needed should you be put on academic warning or probation. Your registration for the next semester will be on hold until your advisor requests that the hold be removed. Please note that academic advisors cannot remove holds placed on registration by the Accounts Receivables Office! You may also need to see your advisor to add or drop a class after the first week of the term. Students should feel free to contact their advisors whenever they have questions.

How do I set up a meeting with my advisor?

Use the Navigate system. There is now an app or you can access it through AccessPlus, ISU Appointments. You can also email your advisor with questions but please check the website first and schedule appointments through the Navigate system.


Learning Outcomes for the Undergraduate Major in Genetics

By completing their studies, students earning the BS degree in Genetics are expected to have achieved the following skills and capabilities.

  • Comprehensive, detailed understanding of the chemical basis of heredity
  • Comprehensive and detailed understanding of genetic methodology and how quantification of heritable traits in families and populations provides insight into cellular and molecular mechanisms.
  • Understanding of how genetic concepts affect broad societal issues including health and disease, food and natural resources, environmental sustainability, etc.
  • Understanding the role of genetic mechanisms in evolution.
  • The knowledge required to to design, execute, and analyze the results of genetic experimentation in animal and plant model systems.
  • The ability to recognize the experimental rationale of genetic studies as they are described in peer-reviewed research articles and grant proposals to federal and other funding agencies.
  • The ability to evaluate conclusions that are based on genetic data.
  • Insight into the mathematical, statistical, and computational basis of genetic analyses that use genome-scale data sets in systems biology settings.
  • Understanding the role of genetic technologies in industries related to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, energy, and other fields.
  • Communication skills required in the discipline including oral presentations of research data, published research articles, grant proposals, and poster presentations at conferences.
  • Teamwork and leadership skills including group analysis of data, working together in the research laboratory, joint compositions of written reports, substantive participation in research group meetings, etc.

Assessment Measures

The following measures are used by the program to determine the success of its graduates in meeting the targeted learning outcomes.

  • Exit interviews with the Program Director and/or Program Coordinator.  This is a self assessment by the graduates. Data are recorded and tracked over time.
  • Exit surveys. Graduating students are encouraged to fill out an on-line survey that asks for self assessment of the level of their abilities in specific targeted areas.
  • Tracking of positions after graduation.  The program collects data on the first position taken by graduates after completing their BS degrees. The presumption is made that admissions committees for medical school, molecular biosciences Ph.D. programs, and other professional programs, and search committees for employment positions, carefully evaluate the skills and abilities of our graduates. The rate of successfully achieving such positions is taken as an important assessment indicator of how well our graduates are achieving the desired learning outcomes.
  • Assessments in courses. Exercises in advanced genetics courses are used to score student performance in the various targeted learning outcomes. For one example, presentations in the senior seminar course are used to evaluate communication skills. These data are used by the program in bulk to evaluate trends and when necessary to redirect the curriculum to improve certain outcomes.
  • Course grades. Grades in specific courses are used to track achievement in specific learning outcomes. As an example, calculus and statistics course grades are used to track achievement in mathematical insights into genetic analysis.
  • Alumni feedback. Alumni are periodically surveyed to ask how well their training in the BS degree in Genetics has served them through the course of their careers. Much of this is done by first year students who are given the assignment to interview an alumnus/alumna in the required orientation seminar.

Learning outcomes for courses in the undergraduate Genetics major can be viewed in the individual course syllabi.