Mission of the Neuroscience Center:
1. Establish and promote an interdisciplinary undergraduate education in Neuroscience,
2. Produce scientifically literate individuals having the ability to design, conduct and analyze research activities,
3. Encourage and support students' critical analysis and participation with integrative and collaborative research-rich and inquiry-based academic curricula.
4. Serve as an educational resource for students, the university, and the community regarding information about the brain and its regulation of behavior.
Purpose of the Neuroscience B.S. program:
The B.S. in Neuroscience prepares students with a strong, broad background in the integrated fields of neuroscience, including psychology and the biological sciences so that they will be highly competitive in obtaining employment or furthering their education in professional or graduate school. The program also gives students an opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor and helps them develop an understanding of the complexity and divine nature of the human body in general and specifically the nervous system and how they grow and interact. The purposes of this program are aligned with the mission and aims of BYU. The program provides both breadth (general education, mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology and religion) and depth (neuroscience, physiology, psychology) to give students an intellectually enlarging experience in an interdisciplinary program. Courses teach critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills that can be used throughout a life of learning.
Program outcomes 1 and 2 below reflect the aims of BYU that programs will be intellectually enlarging and empower students in their lifelong learning. Neuroscience students will have the skills and experiences necessary to enter the workforce or further their education elsewhere. Students will develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that will last long after the BYU experience is over.Professional Preparation
Program graduates will have the necessary knowledge and skills in molecular and cellular biology, neuroanatomy, behavioral neuroscience, physiology, and supporting disciplines required to pursue advanced degrees in areas relating to neuroscience or in professional schools.
Program graduates will evaluate, critique and apply research findings in neuroscience.
Evidence of Learning
To provide evidence of learning, Neuroscience Students will be tracked throughout their time at BYU. Both direct and non-direct methods of assessment and evaluation will be used as outlined in the following sections. Paper files for each student in the program are kept in the department office. Databases are stored using office computers.
- As one measure of expected learning outcomes, students participate in and report annually their involvement in mentoring activities, including professional meeting presentations, preparation of abstracts, internships and contributions to publications. At the end of each semester an email is sent to students requesting abstracts, published and submitted papers and grades from mentored activities.
- Relevant subportions of the ETS Biology Field Exam are given during the senior year to all of the graduating students in the program to assess expected learning outcomes. Students take the test during the Fall or Winter semester.
- A departmental examination is given during the Senior year to all of the graduating students in the program as part of the assessment of expected learning outcomes. Students take the examination during the Fall or Winter semester.
- Instructor assessment occurs at the course level (exams, quizzes, homework, laboratory write-ups, etc.) to enable assessment of expected learning outcomes.
- Student evaluation of their mentoring experience (each semester) as part of the assessment for expected learning outcomes.
- A graduate exit interview and senior-online survey that tracks GRE, MCAT, and DAT scores and their percentiles and professional and graduate school acceptances and job placement to assess expected learning outcome 1.
- A long-term tracking system consisting of alumni surveys to obtain data relating to professional and graduate school acceptances and job placement to assess expected learning outcomes.
Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement
Each Spring Term, the program director and associate director evaluate the direct and indirect assessment data for the program and courses in light of the expected learning outcomes. When evidence exists that the program is not meeting its goals, the program director and associate director make recommendations to the faculty for improvement. This may involve a recommendation to modify the objectives or proposed learning outcomes or content for a given course. It could also involve a recommendation to modify the purpose, goals, or curriculum of the program. Any changes that require approval from the College and University are presented to the College Curriculum Committee for consideration up the line.