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Keywords:

  • Bioinformatics;
  • new curriculum;
  • assessment

Abstract

The Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside has developed and implemented an innovative, multidisciplinary undergraduate curriculum in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics (MBB). The objective of the MBB program is to give students a hands-on facility with molecular biology theories and laboratory techniques, an understanding of mathematical and physical concepts, an ability to apply these concepts to MBB, and a proficiency with the computational tools and skills related to bioinformatics. We hypothesized that a greater exposure to bioinformatics methods, more rigorous requirements in math and computer science, and a constant demand for integrating information in hands-on laboratory courses would help students develop better analytical skills. Indeed, the assessment data support these predictions. Interestingly, 80% of MBB majors apply and are accepted into graduate schools.