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Strategic Plan 2017 - 2021

Mission Statement

UNG's Biology Department provides supportive learning environments in the life sciences such that, regardless of educational background or skill, persons can grow personally and academically. Our small class sizes and accessible faculty help to maintain an innovative student-focused curriculum which incorporates “best practices” in teaching and learning. These practices enable our department to prepare our students to be successful scientific leaders, business people, and future medical professionals in an ever changing world community.

Vision Statement

UNG’s Biology Department will be a regional leader in biology education which maintains an environmentally conscious culture while embracing innovative and cross-disciplinary methods and technologies in all facets of the biological sciences.

Core Values

Integrity, student-focused, engagement, excellence, open communication, supportive

Assumptions

In order to successfully implement the objectives to support the listed strategies it is imperative that the Biology Department be provided with additional space, faculty, funds, and administrative support.

Strategic Goal 1: Promote Academic Excellence

Objective 1.1  Enrich student learning experiences.
  • Tactic 1.1.1: Increase the breadth of upper-level course offerings
    • Metric: Add 4 new upper-level courses.
  • Tactic 1.1.2: Develop a new concentration with a goal of offering a full new degree.
    • Metric: Establish a written plan for the new concentration and begin the approval process.
  • Tactic 1.1.3: Increase internship opportunities with appropriate partners.
    • Metric: Identify appropriate partners, establish internships with a goal of 5% more each year.
  • Tactic 1.1.4: Enhance opportunities for student networking, peer-peer interactions, and mentoring incoming students.
    • Metric:  Determine a baseline and increase that by 10%.
  • Tactic 1.1.5: Encourage international studies.
    • Metric: Add one new study abroad opportunity. Investigate the establishment of a student or faculty exchange with an international partner institution.
  • Tactic 1.1.6: Develop an instrumental biology laboratory skills course that would encourage the development of a core instrumentation facility.
Objective 1.2  Enhance undergraduate research.
  • Tactic 1.2.1:  Encourage undergraduate research in courses.
  • Tactic 1.2.2:  Encourage participation in undergraduate research conferences.
    • Metric: Quantify the number of students who do research every semester and the number of presentations at conferences and increase that by 5%.
  • Objective 1.3  Support faculty and staff professional development.
  • Tactic 1.3.1:  Increase funding for conferences and workshops.
    • Metric: Quantify dollars and people attending conferences and increase by 5% each year.
  • Tactic 1.3.2:  Support faculty research.
    • Metric: Identify faculty research support needs, increase by 5% each year.

Strategic Goal 2: Promote Cross-Disciplinary Engagement

Objective 2.1 Enhance quantitative skills development of all biology students.
  • Tactic 2.1.1: Develop online quantitative analytical skills training modules.
  • Tactic 2.2.2: Alternatively, re-instate biology-based statistical analyses training.
    • Metric: An increasing majority of BIOL 4450 (Evolutionary Biology) students will earn at least 70% of points on the quantitative, population genetics exercise that is also used for departmental learning outcomes assessment (BLO2).
Objective 2.2   Support the development of students’ professional communication skills.
  • Tactic 2.2.1: Standardize instructor expectations of students’ written communication across core BIOL courses.
    • Metric: An increasing majority of BIOL 3500k (Ecology) will earn at least 80% on the departmental learning outcomes assessment (BLO2) portion of their final exam. This assessment requires students to propose in writing a research hypothesis, provide appropriate predictions, and evaluate their research hypothesis within a statistical framework.
    • Metric: Establish a pre- and post- test for incoming biology majors on how to write in biology.
Objective 2.3 Encourage interdisciplinary learning across all S.T.E.M. fields.
  • Tactic 2.3.1: Increase collaboration between departments.
  • Tactic 2.3.2: Encourage interdisciplinary learning through pursuit of minor programs of study.
    • Metric: An increased number of BIOL faculty will co-sponsor research projects with non-BIOL faculty, along with an increased numbers of BIOL students pursuing minor degrees in a non-BIOL field. 
      Metric: Develop courses or activities within courses that integrate two disciplines.

Strategic Goal 3: Promote Community Engagement

Objective 3.1 Develop a community-focused life sciences literacy outreach program.
  • Tactic 3.1.1: Develop a community speaker series and publish this on the biology website.
  • Tactic 3.1.2: Initiate an archival presentation repository.
    • Metric: Create an updateable spreadsheet or website where people can add their contacts or projects.
Objective 3.2 Become a regional leader/model in environmentally positive initiatives.
  • Tactic 3.2.1: Innovative energy conservation techniques.
  • Tactic 3.2.2: Increase recycling initiatives.
  • Tactic 3.2.3: Promote green buildings.
Objective 3.3 Explore life science service learning opportunities / K-12 outreach.
  • Metric: Establish contacts with local schools to determine needs.
Objective 3.4 Publicize current “citizen science” projects.
  • Metric: Create space on the biology website for these projects.

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