THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT PEMBROKE
Five Year Plan
The primary goal of the UNC Pembroke Biotechnology Initiative, 1998-2003, is to build on and continue to utilize the advances that have occurred in the first five years. The ultimate outcome will be the development of a program that provides UNCP students the opportunity to participate in a biotechnology training program that has state of the art facilities and is conducted by faculty with the most up to date training. After this experience, our students will be well-prepared for entry into the biotechnology workforce or for graduate study. Additionally, we will work to develop both formal and informal partnerships with North Carolina biotechnology companies. These goals will be reached by continuing the development and implementation of a comprehensive biotechnology curriculum which provides students and faculty the opportunity and resources to receive useful, up-to-date instruction and experiences in classes, laboratories and industrial internships in biotechnology. The Department s of Biology and Chemistry and Physics have established courses and laboratories which support the aims of the biotechnology initiative at UNCP. Additionally, it is the goal of both departments to continue to seek ways in which their faculty can obtain opportunities for ongoing professional, scientific and academic growth. In concert with the development of human resources, the Departments of Biology and Chemistry will persist in their efforts to improve the physical plant and equipment holdings critical to the UNCP Biotechnology program.
Both departments will continue to seek to embrace new programs which are aimed at expanding the educational and training opportunities students, staff and faculty have available. Outside funding sources will remain important to the educational budget of biotechnology-related activity. Approaches which build inter-program cooperation and participation are increasingly becoming more the standard and preferred way to execute program activities. UNCP will remain prepared to adopt programs which encourage such partnerships.
These listed points are largely being accomplished. Both departments are very active in promoting the objectives that have been funded over the past five years. New courses have been created and established (3, Biology; 6 Chemistry). These courses have been received well. The number of majors in each department has expanded and the chairpersons in each case are committed to having a continued growth of students in biotechnology.
A. Strategy for Curriculum, Program and Course Design-
1. Both the Department of Biology and the Department of Chemistry and Physics each offer a suite of biotechnology courses that will allow a student to earn degrees with concentrations in some aspect of biotechnology. In Biology, this is a concentration in Molecular Biology. In the Chemistry degree, students may pursue a Molecular Biotechnology concentration. In each of these academic tracks, special courses have been designed, approved by the UNCP Faculty Senate and carried on into implementation. In both these tracts, extensive laboratory courses are the main requirements. Research experience is encouraged and/or required as part of the curricula.
Because the curricula and courses designed and developed in the first five years of the initiative were well-conceived, they have been well-received. It is our strategy in the next five years to continue these efforts with steady, measurable improvement. Current faculty are sufficient to continue these programs, but this is contingent on continued funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. It is anticipated that, in the future, the University will be able to secure funding that will at least partially alleviate this dependency on NCBC.
The Biology Department has eleven full-time faculty and two-part-time faculty. The Department of Chemistry and Physics has nine full-time and two-part time faculty. Four of the Biology faculty and three of the chemistry faculty are trained in molecular biology/biotechnology. Departmental committees oversee the implementation of the program.
2. Equipment and supplies issues- Over the course of the past five years that UNCP has built its biotechnology program, the equipment holdings have multiplied. Both the Department of Biology and Chemistry have modern, state-of-the-art student laboratories. A student graduating from UNCP in the sciences has the advantage of being able to receive training in a wide range of techniques, and on a complete suite of equipment and instrumentation. A survey of the laboratories offered by either department will give insight on the exceptional equipment holding at UNC Pembroke. The advanced laboratory courses requires some fairly sophisticated equipment.
3. Student recruitment- The challenge of identifying good students and bringing them into the biotechnology sciences at UNCP is ongoing. Faculty will continue to visit the regional high schools and meet with students to talk about the opportunities available at UNC Pembroke. We are convinced that id prospective students are made aware of the excellent facilities and training of the UNCP faculty they will be enthusiastic about participating in our biotechnology program.
B. Strategy for Multi-Disciplinary Education-
The Department of Biology and the Department of of Chemistry & Physics have been closely collaborating through the entire previous five year period of the HMU Grant. By the nature of this joint effort between the departments, and the fact that students are Ashared@, many of the present courses that count toward the biotechnology concentrations are, in fact, multidisciplinary. In the main, neither the Biology nor the Chemistry plans major additions or changes to the existing biotechnology curriculum. We have spent the last several years instituting some really good courses, and the more immediate need is to improve those courses to offer a better product to the students.
C. Strategy for Faculty Development and Education-
1. The number of faculty that will be involved in this biotechnology effort over the next 5 years should remain at about the same level as present. UNCP has a very good biotechnology program, and rapid growth beyond the present size doesn=t offer much advantage to our students. Both departments have put considerable effort into the project thus far, and refining of our present curriculum and continuing education of the faculty is perhaps the most important thing for the next five-year period.
2. Continuing efforts will be made to provide faculty involved in the bioscience program with ample opportunities to experience additional training in areas that will benefit their professional growth as well as add strength to the biotechnology program. Workshops, courses and seminars are ways in which our faculty can be educated and trained in areas that will enhance their teaching and research.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has recognized the need to develop a larger Science Facility. To this end, the UNCP Administration has included on the list of most urgent capital improvements, a new or expanded Science Facility. This larger facility will expand the amount of both laboratory and class room space. This expansion will hopefully begin in a timely manner, post year 2,000. Money and formal plans still have not been allocated or described.
The effectiveness and success of the comprehensive UNCP biotechnology program will be measured by implementing the following instruments: Indicators of the effectiveness of this program include: the number of students that enroll in the relevant courses; the number of students who choose the biotechnology/molecular biology concentration; the level of satisfaction of students taking these courses; the number and quality of laboratory experiences that students have in these courses; the attendance of faculty at meetings and workshops; and the degree to which new biotechnology-related methods and concepts are incorporated into traditional courses. The best measurement of effectiveness will be the number of students that find employment in the biotechnology industry. Some examples of evaluation instruments follow:
I. Documentation of the number of students who are taking biotechnology-related courses or are formally registered in the biotechnology program in either the Biology or Chemistry majors. Also there will be increased effort on tracking the post-graduation paths of UNCP science students. For example, the Department of Chemistry and Physics has developed a questionnaire that is distributed to graduating seniors. The Department is very interested in uncovering where our graduates advance after completion of the BS degree. The program co-directors of the
NCBC Program at UNCP (Dr. Maxwell, Biology; Dr. Holmes, Chemistry) will be responsible for obtaining and maintaining records of:
1. The number of students that complete the Molecular Biology concentration in Biology and/or the Molecular Biotechnology concentration in Chemistry.
2. The number of students that enroll in the biotechnology courses that were developed as a direct result of this initiative.
3. The number of students that enroll in biotechnology-related courses which are part of the Atraditional@ curriculum.
4. The number of students taking courses taught by the departments of Biology and Chemistry.
5. The number of students majoring in Biology and/or Chemistry
6. The number of graduates with degrees in Biology and/or Chemistry
7. The post-graduation history of those students who complete the pertinent concentrations.
ii. Biotechnology Advisory Board. A Biotechnology Industrial Advisory Board has been established to provide input and guidance relating to the development and execution of the UNCP biotechnology program. Periodic meetings and annual written Board evaluations submitted each winter beginning 1999.
iii. Comprehensive Exit Examination. Another feasible approach to measuring the program=s success is to test graduating students via an Aexit@ or Agraduation@ exam. The Department of Chemistry and Physics is developing an examination to be administered to majors during their senior year. Professor Paul Flowers is coordinating the design, execution and evaluation of this exam. Although there are certain challenges to designing a fair, easily interpreted examination, the data would provide at least a rough measurement of student learning in areas of importance to biotechnology. Biology students could also be tested in a similar manner.
iv. UNCP Science Newsletter. An electronic newsletter will link off the Molecular Biotechnology Homepage. This can be used as a Ayardstick@ to measure the success of our efforts. In addition to providing valuable information about the sciences at UNCP, the Newsletter is meant to catalyze interaction among the faculty. Used as a forum, open discussion of the challenges faced by university biotechnology can help the enterprise to grow and become a more vital part of the academic environment
v. Institutional support. The Departments of Biology and Chemistry & Physics will also provide benchmark measurements of progress by compiling both qualitative and quantitative data on how the University is supporting the biotechnology program through additional funding and capital improvements. The Aextra@ funding from Academic Affairs and the UNCP Foundation is a trustworthy indicator of how the University perceives the success and importance of biotechnology to the over-all university mission.
vi. Extramural funding. UNCP has always worked to increase the amount of granting activity. Outside funding sources besides the North Carolina Biotechnology Center will become increasingly important to maintain and strengthen the biotechnology program. Agencies such as NIH, NSF and NASA will remain primary resources. Additionally, as the biotechnology at UNCP grows and as more of our graduates enter the North Carolina workforce, linkages to biotechnology companies should provide some level of corporate support.