Learning Goals Statement

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.

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:

  • 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.   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.