The Biology Field of Study (FOS) meeting took place on January 8 & 9, 2018 in Austin, Texas. The report will soon for open for 30 days for public comment. I will update with a link for comment when I get it.
The meeting opened with the charge of the committee and election of the chair and vice chair. Our charge was to identify the courses that should be included in the Biology FOS and to address the TX30X60 Mandate set forth by the state legislature (http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/PDF/9306.PDF?CFID=72966565&CFTOKEN=78411272). The mandate states that colleges and universities should increase the number of students who receive degrees and or certificates and they provide workforce skills for their students in the course of their studies. The main goal of the FOS is to ensure that if a student successfully completes a field of study curriculum developed by the Board, that block of courses must be substituted in transfer to a general academic teaching institution for that institution's lower-division requirements for the degree program for the field of study into which the student transfers, and the student must receive full academic credit toward the degree program for the block of courses transferred.
Interestingly, the committee agreed on Gen Biology I & II (BIOL 1406 and 1407) as the biology courses to be included. They voted against allowing Intro to Biotech I (BIOL 1414) to substitute for Gen Bio II even though the content is more relevant in today’s world, which it had been pointed out by a committee member that we live in a “molecular world”. In the Biology FOS there are more chemistry courses than biology courses. The point was addressed and for the most part, ignored. Personally, I’m not sure why many of the people agreed to be on the committee as they did not seem to understand course transfer, nor care about it.
A major point of discussion that I asked be addressed by the committee is the continued lack of sophomore year courses that universally transfer from 2-year to 4-year institutions. The chair told me they thought there was a solution, but apparently, just ignoring issue and voting to ignore, was the solution. I brought up the point numerous times, only to be out voted. Microbiology for majors and/or an independent research course were my suggestions and at least one other person agreed, but ultimately, was outvoted.
The other major point for public discussion should be the woeful ignoring of our mandate to address the TX60X30 document. I’m quite certain very few, if any, of the committee member read the document. With there being more chemistry courses in the FOS, than biology and none of the Biology or Chemistry courses address workforce needs, then the mandate was ignored. My request to include BIOL 1414 was outvoted, as was the suggestion to allow it as a substitution for BIOL 1407. I'm the ONLY one who suggested Biotech be included in the FOS.
In private (meaning, off camera and not on the record) I was told, that it’s a good idea to include biotech in the FOS, but this was not the appropriate time/place (if not this, when? where? Is the time or place). In another private conversation I was told as that at least I brought it to the attention of others and maybe this is a first step in the right direction. Hmmm…how so?
I am puzzled that few members of the committee seem to care that courses in the field of study are about a century-plus old in content. I personally feel guilty that I didn't make more and stronger arguments about biotech and sophomore courses, but I really felt like it was a lost cause. Again, I’m not sure why some of the people were on the committee as they really just wanted to be out of there, were not there to really make a difference for students.