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Ecology & Evolutionary Biology: Undergraduate Programs

Last Modified Date: 
Curriculum Evaluation

Our curriculum committee evaluates the material covered in our foundational major courses to ensure they are compatible and build on one another, as well closing any possible gaps in material from introductory to advanced courses. 

At present, Introductory Biology (181-182) is the foundational core course that prepares students for our more advanced core courses (320 Genetics, 302 Ecology, 335 Evolutionary Biology). The committee is working on a new set of guidelines for 182 to ensure that content is standardized across sections and provides adequate context for the advanced core courses. Introductory Biology I (181) curriculum is set and reviewed by the course’s home department, Molecular and Cellular Biology. Likewise, the committee will also examine how advanced EEB classes build on the advanced core courses.


 Administered: As needed for review of curriculum

Last Administered: Spring 2010

Data was collected through a review of all EEB undergraduate course syllabi with the exception of colloquium and seminar courses.  33 course were considered in this analysis- Full List of Courses.

Central concepts were identified for each course and that information was recorded.  The overall data set was analyzed to identify commonalities between courses and with our expected undergraduate program conceptual outcomes.


Concept Frequency:

(total number of times a concept appeared in the overall analysis, number of courses for which it was listed as conceptual objective)

Total Number of Content Objectives Recorded- 265

  • Evolution (26, 17)
  • Ecology (18, 16)
  • Diversity (17, 14)
  • Form & Function (23, 11)
  • Genetics (22, 10)
  • Phylogenetics (11, 9)
  • Natural Selection & Adaptation (10,9)
  • Ecosystems (8, 8)
  • Behavior (9, 7)
  • Conservation (5, 5)
  • Medicine & Disease (6, 4)
  • Biogeography (3, 3)
  • Life History (5, 4)

*More content objectives appeared in the analysis- those listed aboved appeared most frequently and/ or alligned with the expected conceptual outcomes of the undergraduate program. 

  • EEB Wordle- this image/word cloud was created by using the data collected through our syllabi analysis of central concepts.  Each word represent a different concept that appeared in our analysis.  The size of the word reflects the frequency of its appearance.  (see EEBWordle.doc)

Future Investigation:

This data shows that a number of the expected conceptual outcomes are currently being covered in several of our courses (genetics, ecology, evolution) but there are also some that are not as frequently included.

Our committee is now considering the following questions:

  1. Should our expected conceptual outcomes remain the same.  If yes, should topics that are covered less frequently be incorporated into more of our courses and if so how should that be done.  Should additional concepts be added to our expectations.
  2. Do the topics covered in our core courses allign with our major elective courses?  Currently very few of our major electives require core courses as prerequistes, should this be changed?
  3. Is there conceptual consistency among different sections of the same course (specifically ECOL 182)- additional data analysis would be needed.





Microsoft Office document icon EEBWordle.doc275.5 KB