HOESE, WJ; ONO, JK; KANDEL, J; CASEM, ML; KOCH, R; DICKSON, K; Calif State Univ Fullerton; Calif State Univ Fullerton; Calif State Univ Fullerton; Calif State Univ Fullerton; Calif State Univ Fullerton; Calif State Univ Fullerton; ; : Herding Cats: Using Faculty Collaboratives and a Professional Facilitator to Reform Core Biology Curriculum at a Comprehensive University
One of the most difficult barriers to curricular reform is faculty buy-in. After years of departmental debate about reducing a traditional biology core curriculum of eight core courses to four courses, faculty were able to come to consensus, with the help of a professional facilitator, on the content knowledge, conceptual knowledge, and skills that biology majors should demonstrate at the end of a core curriculum. The department established faculty collaboratives that developed inquiry-based and active-learning curricula for each of the four core courses. Courses for the new curriculum were planned using "backwards design", that is, determining student learning outcomes first, followed by the means to achieve these outcomes. Support from the NSF allowed the department to hire a professional facilitator who guided faculty in developing courses in this mode and instilled practices that served to make meetings more efficient. The departmentís personnel document was revised so research and peer-reviewed publications in teaching are considered scholarly activities. It has taken the department more than five arduous years to implement the new core curriculum and changes in the infrastructure of the department are necessary to assess the effects of the new curriculum and to sustain reforms.