Unit: Life Sciences
Program: Microbiology (BA, BS)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Fri Oct 12, 2012 - 12:31:21 pm

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

Undergraduate Microbiology Student Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, Microbiology majors should have a thorough knowledge and comprehension of the core concepts in the disciplines of molecular, cellular and organismal microbiology.  In addition students will exhibit proficiency in selected laboratory skills and develop knowledge of contemporary microbiological research.

This background of knowledge and experience will prepare the students for entry into professional/graduate school or for employment in government, academic or industrial positions.

Specific learning outcomes include knowledge and understanding of:

1.  The basic principles of microbiology and how they relate to organismal biology as a whole.

2.  The tenets of microbiological disciplines such as diversity, ecology, physiology, genetics, virology, and immunology.

3.  The ability to critically read and analyze literature in the field.

4.  The ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

5.  Development of problem-solving skills.

6.  The ability to develop and test hypotheses in the process of discovery.

7.  The relationships between microbiology and society.

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

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/microbiology/
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number: 139
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:
Other: http://www.catalog.hawaii.edu/courses/departments/micr.htm

3) Select one option:

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2012:

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) Did your program engage in any program assessment activities between June 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012? (e.g., establishing/revising outcomes, aligning the curriculum to outcomes, collecting evidence, interpreting evidence, using results, revising the assessment plan, creating surveys or tests, etc.)

No (skip to question 14)

6) For the period June 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.


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

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

9) 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)

10) 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)

11) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #6:
Summarize the actual results.

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

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

14) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.
Or, if the program did engage in assessment activities, please add any other important information here.

Overview:  The BS/BA program in Microbiology teaches concepts of microbiology and introduces modern approaches used to study microbial life. The program prepares students for careers or graduate studies in microbiology and related fields, e.g., medicine, optometry, dentistry, marine biology, food, pharmacy, agricultural, environmental, and biotechnology industries. Developing critical thinking to analyze microbiological problems is emphasized. Student learning outcomes (SLO) are defined earlier in this assessment report.

Curriculum: We deliver a curriculum that focuses on the SLOs, and which is consistent with national standards and employer needs. The Department of Microbiology follows curriculum guidelines for Microbiology majors established by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the principal national organizing body for academic institutions, professional organizations, public policy forums, instructional literature, and professional conferences in microbiology. The guidelines “…are meant to be used by programs in their assessment, maintenance and formation of strong programs in microbiology.” In addition to recommended courses, essential laboratory and critical thinking skills for microbiologists outlined by ASM are included. Following these guidelines ensures our program matches national standards.

Indicators of learning before graduation: To assess how well the program fulfills the SLOs, the department reviews indicators of learning, most of which are measured before graduation. Direct indicators include satisfactory performance in a capstone course comprising critical analysis of primary-source scientific literature, and presentation of original student research conducted with a department faculty member (MICR499). These indicate learning since they require integration of all course material; they also measure each of the seven student-outcome objectives. In all, they represent a primary indicator of learning that reflects the program’s success. Indirect indicators of learning include student surveys and focus groups that permit frank evaluations by students before graduation.

Capstone course:  The department’s capstone course is MICR410Advanced Topics in Microbiology’ a 2-credit course for (but not limited to) senior microbiology majors. The course focuses on current and seminal research in microbiology, critical analysis of the methods and logic of experimental design.

Student survey: Some students may be reluctant to criticize the department in the presence of peers and faculty. However, they can provide anonymous feedback through surveys distributed to each graduating senior after final grades have been submitted, but before graduation. Anonymous surveys returned by mail offer a way to express opinions about the program’s effectiveness in addressing SLOs, and for frank evaluation of how prepared students are for post-graduate activity.

Indicators of learning after graduation: Post-graduation indicators of learning are indirect, and include performance on standardized tests, acceptance-rate to graduate school, and alumni surveys.

Standardized tests and acceptance-rate to graduate school: Students graduating from the Microbiology undergraduate program may join graduate school programs or medical school. Application to such programs usually involves a standardized test, e.g., GRE subject test or MCAT. Performance in such tests indicates the degree of success of the Microbiology program's mission to prepare students for such careers. Scores affect the likelihood of acceptance for post-graduate study. Acceptance rates and test scores are tracked yearly to evaluate trends in the program's effectiveness in preparing students for the career of their choice.

Alumni surveys: The program surveys alumni for opinions on program satisfaction, curriculum relevance, and their preparedness for professional work. Surveys are mailed to one and five year alumni when surveys are distributed to graduating seniors. Alumni surveys identify areas for expansion to meet emerging challenges, and those that may no longer be relevant. Such surveys also identify alumni that may be interested in working with faculty to improve the program. A planned section of the department's website will contain opportunities for alumni to comment on aspects of the program and offer their support.

Analysis and Implementation: The Department of Microbiology faculty meets each fall to review the year's assessment outcomes. Faculty may suggest ways to better meet student-outcome objectives to the department, college, or university. Specific goals of this meeting are:

1. Review, and if necessary, refine the program's mission.

2. Review, and if necessary, refine SLO objectives.

3. Analysis of assessment data.

4. Identify program aspects that need improvement.

5. Agree on corrective actions.

6. Compile a report of University-level suggestions for communication to the Chancellor.

7. Compile a report of College-level suggestions communication to the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.

8. Develop a one-year departmental commitment to implement changes to the program that incorporate the corrective actions agreed to in (5).

9. Develop a five-year departmental commitment that anticipates future challenges and outlines corresponding responses the department will pursue.

10. Review, and if necessary, refine the program's assessment procedures.