Political Science 2017-18
The department evaluated the current Political Science curriculum to identify needed changes to the major requirements and determine relevant course interventions that would emphasize a scaffolded learning approach and greater inquiry-based learning in the classroom. With the support of a graduate fellow, the department found that the curriculum required greater focus on developing students’ methodological skills in preparation for upper-level seminars and senior theses. As result they revised their program learning outcomes for the 2018-19 General Announcements and applied for and received an IBL Development and Enhancement Grant to create a required one-year sequence of research methods courses: SOSC 302 – Social Science Statistics and POLI 395 – Applied Research Methods in Political Science, offered beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. To enhance independent research, the department also approved a new research grant for undergraduates, revised the requirements for Distinction in Research and Creative Works Award, and restructured the honors program.
As a result of mapping the BioSciences curriculum according to the inquiry scaffold, the department identified the need to enhance framing and communication in core courses and electives at the entry and exit points of the curriculum. Graduate Fellows, Communication Consultants, and undergraduate Teaching Assistants worked with faculty to advise on and implement changes, including the addition of literature reviews to the BIOC 447/547 course, the development of a communication seminar to accompany BIOC 310, and the requirement that BIOC 401/402 students write an NIH F31 proposal based on their research project. The department also created a process for graduate students to incorporate their research projects into the teaching labs of CUREs while the undergraduate TAs developed manuals on mentoring for future lab TAs. Funding was also used for materials and supplies to expand project-based learning in the core lab sequence.
The department assessed each course with a curricular enhancement and obtained further information about outcomes from the RURS assessments and evaluation of PLOs in the SES. The department plans to take the five facets of inquiry into consideration as they revise the curriculum during the 2018-19 academic year.