Unit: Molecular Biosciences & Biosystems Engineering
Program: Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology (BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Wed Nov 18, 2020 - 8:36:09 am

1) Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs)

1. Understand fundamental core science concepts and have the ability to apply their knowledge in the field of biotechnology.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

2. Have the knowledge and core sets of skills that span across basic Sciences and biotechnology, and Mathematics portions of (STEM) education.

(1a. General education, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

3. Understand and be able to identify ethical issues and social impacts associated with biotechnology, and practice ethical standards of integrity honesty, and fairness in scientific practices and professional conduct.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2c. Communicate and report, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture)

4. Can communicate orally and in writing in clear, well organized manner that effectively informs and clarifies scientific principles and lab techniques to others.

(1a. General education, 2c. Communicate and report)

5. Are able to solve problems using hypothesis development and experimental methods on biological systems.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report, 3d. Civic participation)

6. Are well prepared for employment in the critically important and dynamic biotechnology industry.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3d. Civic participation)

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/MBB.aspx
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2020:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) Does the program have learning achievement results for its program SLOs? (Example of achievement results: "80% of students met expectations on SLO 1.")(check one):

Yes, on some(1-50%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on most(51-99%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on all(100%) of the program SLOs

6) Did your program engage in any program learning assessment activities between November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020?

No (skip to question 17)

7) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020? (Check all that apply.)

Create/modify/discuss program learning assessment procedures (e.g., SLOs, curriculum map, mechanism to collect student work, rubric, survey)
Collect/evaluate student work/performance to determine SLO achievement
Collect/analyze student self-reports of SLO achievement via surveys, interviews, or focus groups
Use assessment results to make programmatic decisions (e.g., change course content or pedagogy, design new course, hiring)
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 8)
Other: Emergency meeting to respond to CTAHR administration's unilateral elimination of a crucial SLO data collection mechanism we were using (judges' evaluation sheets of the student research symposium developed by MBBE)

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place since November 2018.

The MBB program was inaugurated 7.5 years ago and has grown from ~15 students to 90 (October 2020).  The program has successfully graduated at least 10 students per year on average the past three years and is therefore "off" the small program list.  Assessment activities occur at several levels annually, from examining individual courses to the student's final capstone research project. These assessment activities can be divided into five thrusts:  

1) MBB instructors turn in key graded student assignments that demonstrate SLOs to the faculty curriculum committee (which serves as our assessment committee) and they are evaluated for quality and achieving SLOs.   

2) MBB student grades in all courses are evaluated including those courses taught by non-MBB instructors.  Those students not achieving good grades are asked to meet with the advisors for guidance and assistance. Obtaining poor grades in the core MBB cores (C- or less) requires the student re-take the course;  

3) A major assessment activity is the independent judge’s evaluation sheets of the student’s presentations in the Annual CTAHR Student Research Symposium (April). We were able to use the judges' sheets for 2018. However, the CTAHR administration unilaterally and dramatically changed CTAHR Student Research Symposium so the majority of our MBB students were excluded in 2019. The new judging sheets were also altered to not reflect our SLOs.  We had to suddenly shift the MBB students to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Porgram (UROP) Symposium.  Thankfully, we were able to improvise and extract useful assessment data from UROP. MBB students must participate as seniors and do either an oral or a poster presentation. The value and objectivity of this assessment is high because six to seven judges from multiple CTAHR departments evaluate the oral and poster presentations of the MBB student’s 499 senior thesis research.  They are evaluated on key recapitulations of SLOs, including scientific understanding, scientific hypothesis and technical methodology, communication and quality of research. These judging sheets are considered major foundations of the assessment activity because it does not only involve MBBE faculty; the judges are 80% non-MBBE and give a broader perspective and unbiased evaluation. We are deeply concerned about future years, but we are switching students over to UROP as the CTAHR symposium does not meet our needs anymore as reflecting a true scientific symposium;  

4) The MBBE 499 written reports (senior thesis) of their research is probably the pinnacle assessment activity.  They are substantial reports in the format of a scientific journal article. They address many of the target SLOs. MBBE faculty and affiliated faculty grade the reports based on SLOs. Achievement of a good grade reflects satisfying SLOs.

5) Of our recent graduates, we ask if they have obtained employment in the field and/or entered medical or graduate school, which addresses our final SLO.

One more semi-assessment activity is the exit survey conducted by the Dean's Office. Students are not required to participate and a few SLOs are targeted. However, those students that respond (maybe half of the graduates) provide their own perspective and insight, and this is shared with the faculty.

Finally, the pandemic also interfered and caused us to place more emphasis on written reports that could be viewed on-line rather than in person.

9) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 7? (Check all that apply.)

Artistic exhibition/performance
Assignment/exam/paper completed as part of regular coursework and used for program-level assessment
Capstone work product (e.g., written project or non-thesis paper)
Exam created by an external organization (e.g., professional association for licensure)
Exit exam created by the program
IRB approval of research
Oral performance (oral defense, oral presentation, conference presentation)
Portfolio of student work
Publication or grant proposal
Qualifying exam or comprehensive exam for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation (graduate level only)
Supervisor or employer evaluation of student performance outside the classroom (internship, clinical, practicum)
Thesis or dissertation used for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation
Alumni survey that contains self-reports of SLO achievement
Employer meetings/discussions/survey/interview of student SLO achievement
Interviews or focus groups that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Student reflective writing assignment (essay, journal entry, self-assessment) on their SLO achievement.
Student surveys that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1:
Other 2:

10) State the number of students (or persons) who submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

In 2018, 10 graduating students. In 2019, 11 graduating students and 2020, 11 graduating.  Every student must submit their capstone written report.


11) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)

12) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)
Other: Evaluated student oral and poster presentations at UH symposium. Judges names were redacted.

13) Summarize the results from the evaluation, analysis, interpretation of evidence (checked in question 12). For example, report the percentage of students who achieved each SLO.

2017-2018:  Nine out of ten students met the SLOs. One student finished her research project but did not finish her final 499 report and received a low grade, but graduated nontheless.  We learned it's very difficult to ensure all students listen to advice and directives.

2018-2019:  All graduates met >90% of the SLOs.   

2019-2020 All graduates met >90% of the SLOs, but exit surveys showed student complaints about perceived deficincies in career advising and lack of paid internships.  Career advising is usually done by the capstone project mentor. And also there are UH sponsored career fairs we advertise.  I think the student was looking for more one-on-one career counseling. The number of faculty in MBBE are limited. The capstone research project is like an internship, but the students earn credit for it and it is not paid. 

14) What best describes how the program used the results? (Check all that apply.)

Assessment procedure changes (SLOs, curriculum map, rubrics, evidence collected, sampling, communications with faculty, etc.)
Course changes (course content, pedagogy, courses offered, new course, pre-requisites, requirements)
Personnel or resource allocation changes
Program policy changes (e.g., admissions requirements, student probation policies, common course evaluation form)
Students' out-of-course experience changes (advising, co-curricular experiences, program website, program handbook, brown-bag lunches, workshops)
Celebration of student success!
Results indicated no action needed because students met expectations
Use is pending (typical reasons: insufficient number of students in population, evidence not evaluated or interpreted yet, faculty discussions continue)
Other: 1. Developed a new course on gene editing (401L). 2. Added a new writing intensive section to course MBBE402-L; 3. Our enrollment has doubled, and we have tried to obtain more funds and posiitins from administration to no avail.

15) Please briefly describe how the program used its findings/results.

We developed a new lab course on gene editing that addresses cuttign edge technologies.  We also obtained approval for a new Writign Intensive lab course (Biochemistry 402L).   A new critical thinking reading and writing assignment was added to MBBE 304, entitled "Better than Human: the promise and perils of enhancing ourselves."

16) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, and great achievements regarding program assessment in this reporting period.

We desperately would like to salvage "the tried and true" previous format to the CTAHR Student Research Symposium. We (the entire department faculty) communicated this in writing to CTAHR administration, but it did not influence the process or result in positive decision-making action for the MBB program.

17) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please justify.

Not applicable