Cal Poly Pomona

P&R Responses for recommendation 88

Recommendation 88
Department Biological Sciences
Consensus Opinion 28 out of 36 faculty/staff : With modifications
Consensus Explanation P&R Recommendation 88. Biology Program. Enhanced Funding

Members of the Biological Sciences Department support the enhanced funding recommendation by the P & R Committee. We also want to emphasize that the Committee’s concerns about the quality of student performance are being aggressively addressed.

The following have already been implemented:

1. The Advising Center. Our departmental advising center opens two weeks prior to quarterly registration. The students use drop-in advising hours (6 hours a day) to discuss academic issues with faculty advisors.
2. Advising Holds for Mandatory Advising. Every quarter one-third of our 900 students have a hold placed on their registration privileges. This hold is lifted only after the student meets with an advisor and develops a plan for the next three quarters. Thus every student has a mandatory advising session at least once a year.
3. Dedicated faculty advisor for students at risk. Each quarter Dr. Keith Arnold and Dr. Pam Hester now advise all students who are on probation or at risk in the Biological Sciences.
4. Advising Handbook and Course Flowcharts. The Biological Sciences Department has developed a department-specific advising handbook available to faculty and students online. Course flowcharts and road maps are available in this handbook.
5. Student Success Coordinator. This position was "frozen" at the interview stage, but we expect the Student Success Coordinator to help us decrease the percentage of students with GPA 2.2 and below and to increase the graduation rate.
6. Science 101 and 102. Beginning in Fall 2007 we implemented two new courses for entering freshmen. These courses provide in-depth advising and they help incoming students to develop effective study and time management skills and adapt to the university setting.
7. Math and Science Help (MaSH) tutoring program. Recently the MaSH program was expanded to be more useful to biology students. As part of this program, our senior biology students tutor students taking lower-level courses in biology.

Recommendation 88 included the suggestion that commonalities with other programs be investigated to see what potential may exist for sharing, collaboration, recruiting, and fundraising.

We agree that collaboration with similar programs should be pursued. To this end, we recently submitted a proposal, currently in review with the College of Science Curriculum Committee, to fold our current Biology, Zoology, Botany, and Microbiology majors into a single Biology major with four options. The merger of these four programs into one is justified by the following:
• With the discovery of unifying principles across multiple levels of biological organization, fruitful collaboration among biologists of different subdisciplines has become extremely common, and the teaching and research tools being used by biologists of different fields are merging.
• Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of biology, our recent and future hires have expertise in diverse biological fields, expertise that will be transmitted to our students.
• Our newly proposed Biology major will allow for cost savings in terms of the sharing of various resources, including laboratory and field equipment, the Biological Sciences Advising Center, BioTrek, and our clerical and technical staff.

Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

Recommendations not submitted through the forms are available in this folder. They mainly consist of Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat documents. If none were submitted for this recommendation, the folder will be empty.