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HHMI CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: BIO288, Introduction to Conservation Biology






(Short Term-Learning)

(Medium Term-Action)

(Long Term-Conditions)

Undergraduate Students


Faculty member responsible for initial course development: T. Contreras


Associate faculty who may contribute guest lectures or supervise lab experiences or workshops: J. March, J. Kilgore, M. North, and R. East


Use of lectures, workshops on current practices in the discipline including the use of GIS, lab experiences (development of questions/hypotheses based on current literature, common methodologies, data collection, analysis of data, drawing appropriate conclusions)


Students in the course will research and produce a long-term adaptive management plan for the Abernathy Field Station; including the incorporation of LEM existing LEM research projects into the adaptive management of the field station


Overview of current theory in Conservation Biology


Equipment and Supplies: no new equipment needed—exists in the Biology Dept or was recently purchased through the LEM project; access to computer/GIS lab


Use of the Abernathy Field Station and potential use of Juniata ’s Raystown Lake Field Station


Collaborating Institutions: potentially Juniata College


Approval of the course as a regular semester offering by the Biology Dept, the CPC, and the W&J faculty


Review of course effectiveness through mandatory student surveys and the use of a separate course survey


HHMI stipend to T. Contreras for course development




Have the Biology Dept, the CPC, and faculty review and approve the proposed course


Develop lectures, lab exercises, and workshops


Encourage other faculty to participate through guest lectures and the development of workshops and lab exercises in their specific areas of expertise


Contact and work with Juniata College to develop partnership for use of their field station


Incorporate aspects of the LEM project (and WebLEM) into the course


Incorporate the use of current technology into the course including GPS and GIS


Encourage and require students to present their research and knowledge of Conservation Biology to the W&J community through poster or oral presentations—including the presentation of the adaptive management plan they have produced for the field station



Approval of the course by CPC and the W&J faculty


Number and demographics of Biology and EVS students enrolled in the course


Evaluation of course objectives and goals using student surveys


Track use and contribution of LEM and WebLEM related projects and materials used in the course


Number and characteristics of faculty who contribute to the course through guest lectures, workshops, and lab exercises—including faculty at other institutions


Track student presentations associated with the course


Students have a better understanding of the theory and application of the theory and principles of Conservation Biology


Students who have taken the course understand the interdisciplinary nature of science


Students are able to apply their knowledge in other Biology/EVS courses and other related disciplines in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities

Students have a long-term interest or engagement in science activities


Faculty continue to be involved in modifying and further developing the courses with less or no HHMI support—other faculty will teach the course in subsequent years


Faculty in other departments or other institutions will become involved in further developing the course


Institutional or other sources of support expanded for further development of the course with an emphasis on interdisciplinary work—including faculty involved in the EVS program, the cell/molecular and Biochemistry programs in Biology, MTH, and ITL

Students understand science concepts better


Students are engaged in conservation-related activities and professions


Faculty and instructors continue to modify what and how they teach science and recognize the importance of collaboration between disciplines


Curricula revision is spurred in all science departments


Institutions reward faculty for better teaching and course/curriculum development activities


Institutions commit funds and other support for further course development—especially for courses that emphasize interdisciplinary work






HHMI CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: BIO288, Introduction to Conservation Biology

Evaluation Questions for OUTCOMES

Possible Indicators/Measures

Possible Data Collection Methods and Information Sources

Rank/Priority (include brief rationale)

  1. How effective was the course in teaching principles of conservation and the maintenance of biodiversity to students and were students able to see the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in addressing conservation problems and concerns?


  1. How were the items purchased using HHMI-funds used to effectively teach or train students?


  1. What was the effect of course development on the faculty and participating departments/majors? (e.g., enrollment, number of majors in related depts., number of faculty involved, development of other related courses)


  1. What impacts were there beyond the department for the curriculum development activities?
  1. a) Students positive about new course or curriculum


       b)  Students increased interest in science

c) Students learning science better

             d) Students value science

             e) Students continue in science (majors and careers)


  1. 2a)  Course continued/modified

       b) Course(s) integrated into various related curricula in other depts

       c) Course enrollment increases

       d) Student majors increases (track not only Biology but other related disciplines)

       e) Effect on other courses/majors/departments

       f) Effect on P&T of involved faculty

       in teaching science instruction

       g) Effect on course development and support in other departments


  1. a) Effect on other institution’s courses/majors/departments

b) Effect on science pedagogy

c) Additional curriculum development grants and awards


  1. a) Pre-Post Tests

b)Exit Questionnaire

c Interview

d) Focus Group


f) Course/Classroom Observations

g) Course Surveys



  1. a) Data collection on course/curriculum changes (e.g.,


      b) Data collection on history of course offerings across related depts

      c) Interviews/reports from faculty and other involved faculty

      d) Focus Group of involved faculty

      e) Assessment of teaching on P&T

      f) Faculty CVs and portfolios


  1. a) Annual report of HHMI-funded activities and their


             b) Periodic plan and review of dissemination plan

             c) Grant funding information

d) Departmental and Institutional funding reports

Questions 1 & 2 are important and can be done over both the long and short term through existing assessment methods (dept, institutional, and HHMI related) and methods that can be easily developed (additional course surveys, exit interviews of students, post-grad surveys of alumni). 


Questions 3 & 4 can also be dealt with during both the long and short-term but will require more discussion at the institutional and interdepartmental levels.  While I see all 4 questions being of equal importance, I think questions 1 & 2 might be the easiest to deal with first while ongoing discussions between involved faculty and depts can occur