Program Description
Program Biological Sciences
Review Type Academic
Review Year 2012-13
Proposal Type Update Academic Program Review
Review Cycle Update: Year 4
Type of Program
(Check all that apply)
Additional Information
Is there an Advisory Committee for the program?
Please list members, their titles and affiliation.
Is there a student club associated/sponsored by the program?
Name of club
Does the program place interns in the workplace?
Award Information
Award List
No degrees have been added.
No certificates have been added.
Course Information
Course List
Schedule Information
During the previous academic year, how many sections were offered in the following manner/time?
(Use start time of class to determine appropriate time category.)
If the academic program requires a specific course or set of courses prior to students being accepted into the program please complete the following:
Does the academic program offer any of the following types of courses (check all that apply)?

Program Staffing
Number of full time faculty
Number of part-time faculty
Number of classified staff (do not include the SOC, which will be reported under the Office of Instruction Program Review)
Paid student workers
Hourly or part-time employees
College Mission Statement
Mission College's first priorities are students, their learning and their success.

Our College serves the diverse educational, economic and cultural needs of the student population of Santa Clara, the Silicon Valley and our global community by providing associate degrees, transferable, career and basic-skills courses and programs, as well as opportunities for life-long learning.

Through participatory governance in support of our first priorities, Mission College systematically commits to evaluating and improving educational programs, technological resources and student support services by making informed decisions, allocating resources and establishing institutional policies and procedures.

Briefly describe how the program supports the college mission:
Please provide an overview of activities and accomplishments over the last Academic Year. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.

The last academic year saw an increase in both the number of sections and number of classes offered by our department.  We still struggle to keep up with demand for the health-program prerequisite courses because of space, funding and tech support constraints. In SU2012 we acquired models and other equipment to begin offering additional sections of BIOSC 022, Anatomy & Physiology for LVN students, in a separate room on campus, thereby freeing up space in our labs in the SCI building and allowing us to offer more sections of high demand courses. 

Beginning in SP2012, our department has been heavily involved along with the Chemistry department in planning and development of the new STEM Center to be built in the Science Building. Set to open in Spring 2013, the center will serve as a hub for the STEM program on campus by providing a meeting place for the STEM Club, additional space for MESA, and a place where faculty can meet with students in a small-group setting to provide office hours or engage in other activities. The development of an honors program was a big part of our effort to continue to build STEM programs on campus, and in Fall 2012 department faculty launched curriculum for a college-wide honors program currently under development.

One of our college-wide needs from last year's program review involved collaboration with the college to create outdoor "classrooms".  We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made.  Last year, three native plant gardens were planted on campus.  These gardens are maintained by our EcoLogic club.  This has been a wonderful resource for our department.  The plants were selected based on usefulness for the botany course that we offer, so these gardens are helping with pedagogy, as well as making our campus more sustainable and allowing for the involvement of our biology students in these activities. 

Students have a strong desire to apply knowledge to practical applications, especially as they affect their own lives.  The new special projects in environmental science continue to attract a diversity of students for hands-on work on many topics. Worm composting, conservation studies on campus and at a local salt marsh and other projects can be a gateway experience for students to local internships and jobs.  This will bring recognition to Mission College.

Mission College is responsive to the need for greater sustainability and serving as an example and leader in this respect to our community.  We were the recent recipients of a grant from Mission City Community fund that enabled the construction of 384 square feet of demonstration gardens which are cultivated by students enrolled in BIOSC 010, Intro to Biology.  Due to their central location on campus, these labeled garden beds are viewed by students and community members visiting the campus and serve an example of urban gardening and demonstrate the benefits of composting.   In addition, students participating in BIOSC 092E class are constructing an ecological model of a pond and marsh that illustrates self-sustainability and increases campus biodiversity. A solar panel powers a small pump, that circulates water over to the planted marshside of the ecosystem, which will then filter the water and trickle it back to the fresh water pond. The students are gaining practical, hands-on experience in whole system thinking that can serve them as they seek out employment in the green sector.

What are the trends for enrollment and class size; what are the implications for your program?
Enrollment in biology courses, based on unduplicated headcounts, changed by -3.3% from Fall 2009 to Spring 2012. Enrollments were stable at 862 last year (Fall 2012-Spring 2012) and 100 students higher than the previous three semesters, but down from the high of 916 in Spring 2010. The number of students served overall from Fall 2009 to Spring 2012 has increased 10.7%, from 821 to 925. Our laboratories are filled to capacity at the beginning of each semester. Since labs only hold 32 students, this is the limit of the class size for all courses with a lab component. We have maximized the number of lab sections we offer, based mainly on lab space. Increased numbers of lecture courses is the main vehicle for increasing headcount, until new laboratory facilities become available in the future.
Discuss how FTEF trends and FTEF/FTES ratio will impact your program. Include any need for increasing or reducing your program faculty. What are the implications for your department?
FTEF for our department was relatively stable from Fall 2009 – Fall 2011, with an average of 10. FTEF increased to 11.3 in Spring 2011, then averaged 11 over those three most recent semesters. FTES increased 11.2% over this time period, from 191.0 to 225.8 Department efficiency, as measured by FTES/FTEF ratios, steadily increased as well, from 18.7 to 20.5 (Fall 2009 - Spring 2012). Our department continues to exceed college wide ratios every semester. During the past three semesters our ratios have exceeded 20, while the college wide ratio was 16.7 in the spring 2012. The implication for our department is that the more FTEF we are given, the more students we can serve. However, our department will require increased funding for materials needed to support larger numbers of lab sections.
Student Achievement
Describe the trends in overall success rates, retention rates, and completion; what are the implications for your program?
When in an update cycle, the question will show as thisBiology students have higher retention rates compared with college wide data and similar success rates as the college. Overall success rate in face-to-face courses is measured as the percentage of students receiving passing grades in the course. Our success rates have been relatively stable, ranging from 74.4% to 80.4% from Fall 2009 to Spring 2012, with a slight change of -0.4%. College wide success rate changed 2.2% in this time period. Retention rates in biology courses are high, ranging from 86.5% to 90.4%, with a change of -1.1 in over the time period. This is exceeds the college wide retention rates, ranging from 86% to 87.2%, over the same time. The college issued 71 associate degrees in biological sciences in 2009-20010, 87 in 2010-2011 and 73 in 2011-2012.
Active Courses
Course Review Date
BIOSC 001A 03/09/2009
BIOSC 001B 03/09/2009
BIOSC 004 05/22/2013
BIOSC 008 01/25/2008
BIOSC 010 11/16/2011
BIOSC 010L 11/16/2011
BIOSC 011 02/20/2010
BIOSC 015 05/22/2013
BIOSC 016 11/16/2011
BIOSC 022 02/20/2010
BIOSC 025 09/22/2010
BIOSC 030 01/30/2012
BIOSC 041 07/06/2011
BIOSC 042 11/16/2011
BIOSC 043 05/20/2009
BIOSC 043H 05/22/2013
BIOSC 047 05/22/2013
BIOSC 047S 03/09/2009
BIOSC 048 09/22/2010
BIOSC 048H 05/22/2013
BIOSC 081H 01/16/2013
BIOSC 092E 09/20/2010
Please review the course list above. Are there courses missing? Are there courses with a review date longer than five (5) years ago? What is the plan to update course information?
All of our department courses have been updated recently; none of the courses have a review date longer than 5 years. In the coming semesters, we will be assessing the necessity to continue to offer Biosc 008. We will also be considering a revision of Biosc 15 to improve student success. During the Fall 2012 semester, we are launching a curriculum proposal for a course for the honor's program.
Were any of these courses NOT offered in last 2 years? Yes

Reason for not offering:
The major's courses were revised from a two-semester system (1A/1B) to a three-semester system (41, 42, 43)
Reason for not offering:
The major's courses were revised from a two-semester system (1A/1B) to a three-semester system (41, 42, 43)
Reason for not offering:
We have not developed the course materials for this class yet and have not been able to find a time to offer the course. New lab space may allow us to offer this in the future.
Are there plans to Inactivate/Deactivate any of these courses? No

Active Programs
"Educational programs" are defined in Title 5 sec. 55000 as "an organized sequence of courses leading to a defined objective, a degree, a certificate, a diploma, a license, or transfer to another institution of higher education." Please review the following list of active programs that are in Curricunet and answer the following questions as appropriate.
Program Review Date
No Programs Found
Are any degrees or certificates missing that should be included in your area? Please list all programs you offer which are either not listed, or which have dates showing the last revision more than 2 years ago (CTE) or more than 6 years ago (transfer).
None missing
Please explain your plans for the program(s) listed above: revision, inactivation or other changes that the department will make to help keep the program current.
We are also monitoring any changes that are required of the transfer courses as a result of SB1440. Upon finalization of the Transfer Model Curriculum we will be making any revisions to our curriculum to be compliant with the bill. We are waiting on the finalization of the requirements for the Associate Degree in Science for Transfer (AS-T) in Biology so we may add it to our current degree offering. We anticipate a greater interest in our majors’ series courses as a result of the AS-T.
Response to Needs
How do your curriculum and programs respond to changing community, student, and employer needs? If the program has an Advisory Committee, what is their feedback?
Our department monitors enrollment every semester to see what the trends are. We offer our courses based on our students’ needs. Health occupations are one of the growing employment areas for the future. We continue to offer as many sections of our allied health pre-requisites, such as anatomy, physiology and microbiology, as possible. These courses are in very high demand; our ability to offer sections is limited by our current lab space. We are looking forward to adding two new laboratory spaces, more office space, and additional storage space with the completion of the new building. This will allow us to offer more sections of our high-demand courses. This year we hired a new full-time faculty member who will be the course coordinator for microbiology. Hopefully we will be able to find an associate faculty to staff our additional sections; this is often a challenge. We are in close communication with the Mission College nursing programs to make sure we are aware of any changes in those programs that affect our department offerings. We are also monitoring any changes that are required of the transfer courses as a result of SB1440. Upon finalization of the Transfer Model Curriculum we will be making any revisions to our curriculum to be compliant with the bill. We are waiting on the finalization of the requirements for the Associate Degree in Science for Transfer (AS-T) in Biology so we may add it to our current degree offering. We anticipate a greater interest in our majors’ series courses as a result of the AS-T.
How do your curriculum and programs support the needs of other certificates or majors at Mission College?
The courses in Biological Sciences support the following majors (degrees or certificates) outside of Biology: Vocational Nursing, Psychiatric Technician, Registered Nursing (LVN-RN), Kinesiology (currently WHP), Psychology, Mathematics, Liberal Arts, Global Studies, and Anthropology. In addition, some of these majors (such as Kinesiology and Psychology) now have approved Associate Degrees for Transfer that include Biology courses. We will monitor the additional demand for those biology courses (BIOSC 011, BIOSC 047, BISOC 048) as these new degrees become popular.
SLO Info
Summarize any key student learning outcomes (SLOs) since the last review.
In the three majors courses, Biosci 041, 042 and 043, we have met the SLO goals and seen improvement in student success on many key concepts since the last review. We did see an unexplained drop in performance on certain concepts in Biosci 043 compared to the last review; this will be reassessed in Spring 2013 to determine if it was an anomaly or if the trend continues. In most other courses SLO goals continue to be met; in addition, student performance has improved in some areas due to introduction of additional homework assignments and practice exam questions. In the few cases where goals have not been met, measures will be taken to develop new activities and work more closely with associate faculty.
Identify how you have used the assessment of student learning outcomes to update or make changes to curriculum, delivery of content/services, or the development of new goals.
In our department, each course is assigned a course coordinator. This full-time instructor is responsible for any curriculum changes, textbook changes, guiding and evaluating associate faculty assigned to the course, and for coordinating SLO assessments. Effectiveness of our teaching tools is assessed on an annual basis. The coordinator for the course then makes adjustments and instructs the associate faculty assigned to the course to do the same. This may involve revising course content, assignments, or assessments.
Program Goals
Program Goal:
Strengthen the major’s program to increase the number of biology transfer-oriented students by 10 percent per year.
College Goal:
Goal 1: Ensure that the college’s curriculum responds to the 21st century needs of our students and community.
Goal 2: Increase the number of opportunities for students to transfer to a four-year institution.
Goal 3: Increase the number of students who earn awards and transfer within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Strategic Focus: Curriculum and Program Improvement

In Progress-We have increased the number of classes of our majors series by one additional section each semester. In Spring 2013 one of the majors classes, Cell & Molecular Biology, will have a distance learning option for lecture. We are now focusing on strengthening the curriculum in the majors classes and developing outreach efforts to attract more students to the department to benefit from our improvements.
Expected Outcome:
Our success and retention rates for the majors’ courses exceed the college average, but we are always seeking ways to attract and retain even more students. The quality of education in our major’s classes will be enhanced with the purchase of needed instructional materials and equipment. This will lead to students that are better prepared for upper level classes they take after transferring from Mission College and a higher performance level by these students in these classes.
Action Plan 2012-13:
Create a survey of our students to acquire data on their career goals and issues they’ve encountered in completing their prerequisite courses at Mission College (e.g. frequency/timing of course offerings, type and quality of support services). Continue development of a STEM club at Mission College, providing support services and enrichment activities to students currently enrolled in biology and other science classes. Develop relationships with transferring institutions such as SJSU and Santa Clara University.
Action Plan 2013-14:
Develop an outreach strategy, working with students at local high schools to attract them to our program. Continue survey developed in 2012-13; adjust course offerings and outreach efforts according to results
Action Plan 2014-15:
Continue survey and adapt/adjust course offerings and outreach efforts according to survey results.
Action Plan 2015-16:
Continue survey and adapt/adjust course offerings and outreach efforts according to survey results.
Program Goal:
Enhance instruction in laboratory courses by adapting labs to accommodate new modalities (e.g. laboratory simulation exercises).
College Goal:
Strategic Focus: Technology
Goal 1: Optimize technology to provide effective support programs, services, and processes, with a focus on sustainability.

In Progress-Our department is still in need of new equipment for our laboratory courses. We have only been able to replace some of our older microscopes. Many older microscopes are still in use. Many computers are woefully outdated (2007) and must be shared between two lab classrooms.
Expected Outcome:
By updating and replacing outdated or inoperable laboratory equipment and supplies we will be able to provide superior instruction to our laboratory students. Students will have access to state of the art laboratory equipment, which will provide them with hands-on experience in viewing microscopic preparations, measuring biological variables, running simulations and analyzing data.
Action Plan 2012-13:
Obtain a set of 17 laptops for use in SCI-230. Replace outdated/inoperable compound microscopes in SCI-220.
Action Plan 2013-14:
Obtain 16 compound microscopes, 8 dissecting microscopes and 16 laptop computers for Physiology lab in new building (Room 134).
Action Plan 2014-15:
Purchase instructional models for use in Anatomy and the majors courses. Obtain 8 laptop computers to begin phased-in replacement of computers purchase in 2007.
Action Plan 2015-16:
Obtain 8 laptop computers to continue phased-in replacement of computers purchase in 2007.
Operations Info
Now that strategic goals have been identified and documented, this section provides space for the program to discuss significant needs or plans that are related to daily operations. These items are separate from the specific strategic goal(s) identified above. This is not intended as a place to list specific budget requests (that is the next section) but to allow space for the program to discuss any outstanding issue or plans they have made in order to continue their normal operations.

Operational needs: basic needs to run the department such as duplicating and office supplies as well as specialized instructional or non-instructional supplies such as piano tuning, models for art, light equipment, etc.
The courses in the Biological Sciences department are under high demand. Most of our laboratories are working at full capacity, with courses meeting back-to-back and short breaks in between. We would like to offer more sections of our most popular courses (e.g. anatomy, physiology, microbiology) but we are limited by space and tech support. We recently secured two additional labs in the new building currently under construction. The department has been working with the architect to design the layout of the room to meet the students' needs. In anticipation of moving over to these new labs, we will need to purchase equipment that can be kept permanently over in the new labs, such as laptop computers, compound microscopes, dissecting microscopes, etc. The department currently has two autoclaves: one large one on the third floor of the SCI building which we do not currently use and one small one located in SCI 221, which is regularly used. We are currently investigating if the autoclave that the department regularly uses meets the OSHA standards for logging, testing, and servicing. We may need to look into selling the autoclave and boiler located on the third floor, as well as the small autoclave currently used in SCI 221 in order to purchase a modern upright model installed in the media kitchen. Replacing our current set-up would resolve any issues with OSHA regulations. We would like to make our department materials more accessible. We will work with college webmaster to post current course syllabi on Biology department’s homepage. By doing this, students interested in taking our courses can review our syllabi to see if the course meets their needs without needing to log onto Angel or be enrolled in the course.
Scheduled Maintenance: maintenance required at specific intervals which can be planned for such as software upgrades, hardware replacements, CPR dummies, etc. This is the area to alert the college as to when maintenance will be needed (i.e. we are in year 3 of a 5 year replacement cycle for servers).
Scheduled maintenance of Biology equipment includes: (2) Autoclaves: Annually (by LabWorks) (2) Balances: Annually (by Calibrate) (2) Centrifuges: As needed (by Advanced Refrigeration) (1) Freezer: As needed (by Advanced Refrigeration) (1) Freezer, ultra low: As needed (by Advanced Refrigeration) (1) Ice maker: As needed (by Advanced Refrigeration) (6) Incubators: As needed (by Facilities) (1) Incubator shaker: As needed (by Advanced Refrigeration) (1) Lab Washer: As needed (72) Microscopes: Every semester (by West Coast Microscopes) (68) Microscopes: Every semester (by JH Technologies) (1) Oven: As needed (by Facilities) (77) Pipettes: Annually (by Calibrate) (1) Printer: As needed (10) Refrigerators: As needed (by Advanced Refrigeration) (1) Water system: Every semester (by Pacific Water)
Resource Requests: Facilities etc.
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Facilities (F)
Description: Every semester maintenance of water system. Company: Pacific Water
Cost: $2,000
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Supplies (S)
Description: Annual maintenance of microscopes in SCI 216 & 230. Company: JH Technologies.
Cost: $3,400
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Supplies (S)
Description: Annual maintenance of microscopes in SCI 220. Company: West Coast Microscopes.
Cost: $4,500
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Supplies (S)
Description: Annual maintenance of pipettes and balances. Company: Calibrate.
Cost: $1,200
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Supplies (S)
Description: Maintenance of centrifuges (2), freezers (regular and ultra-low), Ice maker, incubator shaker, refrigerators (10). Scheduled as needed. Company: Advanced refrigeration
Cost: Unknown
Operational Needs (ON)
Supplies (S)
Description: Biological Sciences supplies budget
Cost: $25,000
Program Review Goal (PR)
Computer Hardware (CH)
Description: Purchase 17 laptop computers for SCI 230. This will provide all three instructional labs with a complete set of computers.
Cost: $35,000
Program Review Goal (PR)
Equipment (E)
Description: Purchase 32 compound microscopes for SCI 220 to replace outdated and inoperable microscopes
Cost: $45,000
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Equipment (E)
Description: Annual maintenance of autoclaves. Company: Labworks
Cost: $500
Scheduled maintenance (SM)
Equipment (E)
Description: Replacement of refrigerator in SCI 261
Cost: $7,000
Operational Needs (ON)
Hourly/Student Workers/Seasonal Etc. (H)
Description: Student hourly assistants
Cost: $7,000
Operational Needs (ON)
Other Non-Personnel (O)
Description: Duplicating costs
Cost: $2,500
Resource Requests: Permanent Personnel
No Resource Requests Added
College Needs
No Needs Added