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Learning Outcomes and Outcomes Assessment

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.