Biotechnology B.S./M.S. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

The mission of the combined BS/MS Biotechnology Program is to prepare our students for research based careers in the biosciences. Our graduates will be educated in basic and applied aspects biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology and be trained to problem solve in a research laboratory environment. The broad training obtained through this program is designed to prepare our graduates to excel in any bioscience discipline, thus allowing them to rapidly adapt to the ever changing environment of industrial and academic research. While we have tailored our program to best prepare our graduates for employment with in the biotechnology industry, the program curriculum is also appropriate for those wishing to continue on to graduate or professional schools.

Program Outcomes

1.  Graduates will be adequately prepared for careers in academic- or industrial-based biotechnology research.

Student Performance Indicators

  • Students will gain employment in Biotechnology and be successful in the workplace.
  • Students will be accepted into a Ph.D. graduate program or into a professional school program (i.e. medical school, pharmacy school or dental school).
  • Students will be able to conduct independent research in UNR laboratories.
  • Students will be able to conduct independent research during internship at biotechnology companies during the summer of their 4th year.

Assessment Method

  • Alumni and employer surveys will be used as our primary evaluation tool.
  • For each academic or industrial research experience, written midterm and final evaluations by research mentors/supervisors are required. These evaluations will be used to report on student performance and conduct.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to demonstrate extensive knowledge in the areas of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Graduates will have the base knowledge required to understand or rapidly comprehend novel concepts from the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.
Assessment Method
  • Students are required to attend six seminars each semester from diverse disciplines (i.e. biochemistry and molecular biology, physiology, cell biology, pharmacology, neurobiology and developmental biology) and prepare written summaries which describe the major findings and concepts presented by the speaker. While the summaries are not graded, the students' ability to understand the seminars will be reflected in the quality of their reviews. We will maintain a record of how well our students are able to comprehend these seminars. Observed deficiencies will guide curricular modifications to the program.
  • Students will have taken undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of cell biology (i.e. BIOL 315, BIOL 395, CMB 710), biochemistry (i.e. BCH 400, BCH 303, BCH 403) and molecular biology (i.e. BCH 405, BCH 406, BCH 705). The course grades of each student will be assessed to determine how well our students are performing in each discipline and also to determine if our students are adequately prepared to take the more advanced courses.

2.  Students will be able to effectively communicate research results in both oral and written form.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students will be able to make a clear and concise oral presentation on their independent research.
  • Students will be able to publicly field questions pertaining to their presentations.
  • Students will prepare posters presentations that clearly describe their research at the Annual Biotechnology Symposium at UNR.
  • Students will be able to write an acceptable hypothesis driven research proposal.
Assessment Method
  • Each year the Biotechnology program sponsors the Annual Biotechnology Symposium. All 5th year students and select 4th year students will make oral presentations on their research to an audience made up primarily of UNR faculty and representatives from local biotechnology companies. At this same event, all 4th year students will present posters describing their current research activities. A panel of judges made up of experts from the Biotechnology Industry and UNR faculty will evaluate all oral and poster presentations. The judges will also evaluate the ability of students to respond to questions. Summary of these evaluations will be archived.
  • During their 5th year, each student must enroll in the graduate course BCH 705 (Molecular Genetics). In this course the students must write a research proposal. The Biotechnology program director will confer with the BCH 705 instructor to help evaluate each student's ability.
  • All peer reviewed publications, awards, and abstracts from poster or oral presentations at regional, national or international conferences will be recorded and used as evidence of our students' ability to communicate effectively in written and oral forms.