Learning Goals Statement

The learning goals articulated below provide our students a framework for contextualizing and learning the fundamental knowledge needed to complete the biology major and to become prepared for future work in the discipline.

1.  Biology majors will gain a broad background in fundamental principles of biology.  Students will:

Larissa Williams, Assistant Professor of Biology, poses for a photo on June 20, 2013.

Larissa Williams is an Associate Professor of Biology. Larissa uses molecular approaches to study effects of toxicants on biology systems. Learn more about her work and opportunities for research in her lab here.

  • gain conceptual knowledge at the different levels of biological organization, from genomes to ecosystems;
  • demonstrate a knowledge of form and function across taxa; and
  • be able to compare and contrast features of living organisms, acknowledging common origins and evolutionary differences.

2.  Biology majors will gain knowledge and experience in the basic methods, instrumentation, and quantitative analytical skills used to conduct scientific research in biology.   Students will:

  • acquire and understand information from published biological  literature;
  • frame scientific questions or problems, recognize and challenge assumptions, and generate testable hypotheses;
  • investigate biological questions or problems experimentally, and collect, analyze, and interpret qualitative and quantitative data;
  • engage in hands-on laboratory/field work using scientific equipment and methods; and
  • understand and apply ethical standards when undertaking scientific research.

3.   Biology majors will develop intellectual independence, critical reasoning, and communication skills.

Assistant Professor of Biology Andrew Mountcastle observes as students in his new course on "Bioinspiration and Biomimetics" (from left) Thad Gunther '21, Jeremy Bennett '21, Josh Turner '20, and Ruth van Kampen '19 test the performance of their 3D printed models of grooming brushes that are inspired by cat tongues. Swipe left to see a few scenes from today’s lab.. The exercise was part of a course project motivated by a recent academic paper that discovered that grooming brushes inspired by cat tongues perform better than typical human hairbrushes. Cats use hollow papillae (the grooves in their tongues) to wick saliva into their fur. Student IDs: Erin Murphy '21 in denim jacket Eve Cinquino '19 in black and shite patterned pullover with Andrew Hiram Martin '19 in plaid and Elly Bengtssom '19 in red pullover With raisins: Wendy Memishian '19 in black and plaid and Bridget Tweedie '21 in paisley Gavin Chen '20 side loading scale and Brianna Karboski '21with white and pink pullover at laptop and in background Joseph Ho '20 in blue plaid. Josh Turner '20 with Sea Saba hat and Ruth van Kampen '19 in purple pullover Thad Gunther '21 in grey with snowflakes sweater and glasses with Jeremy Bennett '21 in blue plaid shirt with hood Blonde hair: Abby Hamilton '21 and Julie Hinton ;20 in cowl sweater Alex Bickart '21 tall blond hair pulling cat hair

Assistant Professor of Biology Andrew Mountcastle observes as students in his course on “Bioinspiration and Biomimetics” (from left) Thad Gunther ’21, Jeremy Bennett ’21, Josh Turner ’20, and Ruth van Kampen ’19 test the performance of their 3D printed models of grooming brushes that are inspired by cat tongues.

Students will:

  • critically examine and apply evidence-based reasoning;
  • communicate effectively orally and in writing to both scientific and lay audiences; and
  • apply fundamental biological concepts to novel scenarios.

4.  Biology majors will explore connections between biological science and society. Students will:

  • apply scientific thinking to everyday problems;
  • articulate the relevance of biology to society; and
  • examine the ethical dimensions of biological issues.

 

With gratitude, we acknowledge that these learning goals were adapted and modified from a similar set of learning goals articulated by the Biology Department at Trinity College.