As director of General Science/Combined Major in Science and on the Biology Curriculum Working Group I have been involved in the restructuring of two major programs in the Faculty of Science. In both cases curriculum reform started with developing well-defined learning goals that accommodated student’s academic and career goals. They broadly include conceptual skills, research skills, communication skills, collaborative skills, and content knowledge. Having well defined learning objectives helped to determine areas in need of upgrading.
For Combined Major in Science we decided that the program should provide the students a broad background in science. There were representatives from all departments in Science on the committee to ensure coverage. See Appendix D-I, pg A-279 for outline of the program and rationale. Also included is the survey I conducted of the General Science students.
In the old Biology specialization, many of the fundamentals courses were taught in the third year. It was decided that this content should be brought to the second year level to facilitate concept building throughout the curriculum. Next we evaluated course offerings to determine which courses or combination of courses address learning objectives and to identify areas for new course development.
With the help of the CWSEI STLFs we will be able to evaluate our new curriculum to determine how well we are addressing the program learning objectives. Once we know where our deficiencies are we will have a better idea where to focus course development resources. As part of our SPF commitment we will also be developing experiential courses or course components.