Unit: Cell & Molecular Biology
Program: Cell & Molecular Biology (MS)
Degree: Master's
Date: Thu Oct 06, 2011 - 9:53:32 am

1) Below are your program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

1.Sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge to assume responsibility for teaching classes in Cell and Molecular Biology at least at the undergraduate level, and teaching experience in these and related topics; 

2.Knowledge of the process of research, including: familiarity with techniques for searching the literature; principles of measurement; and practical experience in the design and conduct of scientific experiments, collection of data, and interpretation of data sufficient to enable our students to interpret current literature, and to embark upon the next (doctoral) level of development as researchers;

3.Familiarity with the mechanics of scientific reporting sufficient to enable our students to prepare a publication for a scholarly journal; 

4.Experience with oral presentation of material sufficient to enable our students to prepare and deliver reports on their work at seminars or meetings of scientific societies; 

5. A degree of understanding and scientific maturity sufficient to enable our students to assess the work of others; 6.An understanding of the administrative procedures common to academic departments.

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

Department Website URL: http://web.me.com/cmb2011/CMB/Home.html
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: http://www.hawaii.edu/cmb/
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number: 257
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA
Other: portions distributed to prospective applicants by e-mail

3) Below is the link(s) to your program's curriculum map(s). If we do not have your curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2011:

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) For the period June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

All 6 SLOs listed in question 1 were assessed.  The goal of the continuous assessment activity of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program is to intercept any student with deficiencies as soon as possible and to remediate those deficiencies.

We especially addressed an identified area of weakness in  biostatistics and bioinformatics and will be assessing the new courses at the end of the current semester.  

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #5.

  1. Written examinations include 2 midterms and 1 final exam in the fall and spring semesters of both core courses, CMB 621-622 Cell and Molecular Biology I and II.  These courses are required of all first year MS students.  Exam questions are written and graded by a cross-section of the CMB graduate faculty and results are tabulated by the graduate program administrator.  Written exams are the main basis for grades in our core courses.  The exams are intended to define a minimal competence in the subject matter of each course.
  2. Seminars and journal club courses further expand our ability to evaluate each student’s progress by having them participate in behaviors defined by their instructors (class participation, giving oral presentations, reviewing a classic or recent paper, literature review paper, etc.)  These behaviors form the basis for the course grades.
  3. Literature review papers are an important part of the evaluation scheme in some courses.  They are intended to exercise literature search techniques, critical thinking and expository writing skills.  The students are evaluated by the faculty who teach the subject matter of the course.
  4. The Qualifying Exam is given to all MS students in their second year. This exam consists of two parts.  The first part is a written exam.  The questions are selected by the cell and molecular biology graduate faculty. The second part is an oral presentation of a peer-reviewed publication before a panel of 5-7 expert judges. These two parts are intended to test depth of knowledge in several areas of cell and molecular biology and supporting biological sciences.  Students must pass both parts on this exam to continue on in our graduate program.
  5. Posters and oral presentations at scientific meetings.
  6. Peer-reviewed publications.

7) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

All MS students (5) submitted evidence to be evaluated.

They all passed our two part qualifying exam in their second year. In the past three years, 100% of MS students passed. Passing this qualifying exam is required to continue on in our MS program.

Other evidence evaluated included course work, reports on laboratory work, publications of work, conferences and scientific meetings attended, oral presentations in seminars, journal clubs and scientific meetings and oral defense of Thesis.

8) 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)

9) 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)

10) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #5:
Summarize the actual results.

All 2nd year MS students passsed the qualifying exam. In the past three years 98% of students passed on the first attempt.  Students are given two chances to pass the different parts of the qualifying exam.

All students passed course exams as required with at least a "B" grade in the 2010-2011 period.

We have had two MS students this past year who reached a sufficient level of expertise to be Teaching Assistants in biology undergradutes courses.

The results of the other pieces of evidence gathered are evaluated on an individual basis.  There have been no unacceptable performances from MS students in the 2010-2011 period.

11) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

The Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program assesses each student continuously in order to identify problems as early as possible.

The Chair utilizes CMB graduate faculty committees and student advisors as need be.

When a problem is identified, the Program Chair, CMB Student Advisory  Committee and the student's academic mentor discuss the issue.  If necessary, a brief report generalizing the student's performance is then presented at a faculty meeting.

Recommendations are made and usually implemented. 

In this past assessment period the CMB faculty have identified two program weaknesses.

First, we need  a more organized approach to teaching critical bioinformatics and biostatistics skill sets required of the molecular and life science bench researcher. (SLO2)

We have developed and have in place a new Biostatistics and Bioinformatics course. The CMB Faculty is considering making this course a graduation requirement.

Second, our students need to improve their skills in making oral presentations of their work . (SLO4)

We now require that at least once a year every student in our program make a poster and do an oral presentation of their work at a conference or symposium.  Previous to public presentation, the poster and oral defense are critiqued by a group of senior level students and faculty.  The students' mentor must also approve the final revision before public presentation.   

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

We are making more of an effort to engage the entire CMB  faculty in evaluating SLOs rather than just our various committees.  We are especially drawing in our junior faculty and encouraging them to give new insights into problems or improvements that need to be made in our program.

13) Other important information.
Please note: If the program did not engage in assessment, please explain. If the program created an assessment plan for next year, please give an overview.