Learning Goals - Biochemistry

BIOCHEMISTRY LEARNING GOALS AND ASSESSMENT
The doctoral program in Biochemistry trains students for senior research positions in industry or government settings, or for academic careers in a college or university setting where they would be expected to teach and/or conduct research.


Learning Goal 1 for Students: To develop proficiency in the critical analysis of scientific research.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1:

  • Grades in graduate courses.
  • Qualifying examinations assessing depth and breadth of knowledge.
  • Faculty review of student progress with close advising and mentoring.
  • Demonstrate ability to read and critique scientific literature in seminar classes.


Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 1:

  • Close advising to assure that students are being prepared in a coherent and academically rigorous fashion.
  • Effective monitoring of student progress in thesis committee’s annual review.
  • Require annual reports on research progress from both the student and the student’s research mentor.
  • If effectiveness is below expectations, work with research mentor and/or course instructors to improve effectiveness

 

Learning Goal 2 for Students: To pursue and solve a novel research problem of interest to both the student and mentor.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 2:

  • Preparation of and defense of Ph.D. dissertation proposal.
  • Assessment of quality of Ph.D. research by the thesis committee.
  • Public defense of dissertation.
  • Critical reading of dissertation by committee of graduate faculty members and a committee member from outside of the Biochemistry graduate program.

 

Role of the graduate program in helping students achieve Goal 2:

  • Provide early introduction to hypothesis development, research methods and opportunities for research.
  • Provide opportunities to present research and receive feedback.
  • Advocate for adequate funding throughout the research phase.
  • Employ a standard form for thesis committee members to evaluate the quality and progress of dissertation research.

 

Learning Goal 3 for Students: To produce publishable research in the field.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 3:

  • Submission and acceptance of peer-reviewed articles and conference papers based on the dissertation research.
  • Achievement of students as evidenced by professional placements, selection for conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications and individual grant attainment.

 

Role of the program in helping students achieve Goal 3:

  • Encourage participation in classes on proposal writing
  • Host discipline-specific training when appropriate
  • Teach students how to do assessments in their future professional capacities
  • Employ a standard form for thesis committee members to determine the likelihood that a student’s research will be publishable.


Learning Goal 4 for Students: To follow ethical principles of the discipline for citing sources, using human subjects, and working with colleagues.


Assessment of student achievement of Goal 4:

  • Course grade in Ethics class in the responsible conduct of science.
  • Assessment of quality of Ph.D. dissertation.


Role of the program in helping students achieve Goal 4:

  • Require Ethics class in the student’s first academic year.
  • Employ a standard form for thesis committee members to evaluate student’s ability to cite sources appropriately.


Learning Goal 5 for Students: To teach and mentor effectively.


Assessment of student achievement of Goal 5:

  • Review of annual research presentations as part of yearly committee meetings.
  • Research mentor’s evaluation of graduate student’s training of undergraduate researchers in lab setting.
  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of graduate teaching assistants in undergraduate classes.

 

Role of the program in helping students achieve Goal 5:

  • Require attendance at classmates’ annual research presentations.
  • Acquaint students with academic career opportunities.
  • Employ a standard form for thesis committee members to evaluate oral and written communication skills