About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 2696
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA BIOTHRUST 21, A POST-KATRINA RECOVERY INITIATIVE: PRODUCING A BETTER PREPARED 21ST CENTURY BIOSCIENCES WORKFORCE FOR LOUISIANA AND THE NATION

M. Carmichael, P. Barrett, K. Huggins, S. Ireland

Xavier University of Louisiana (UNITED STATES)
Xavier University of Louisiana, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) based in New Orleans, is nationally renowned for its undergraduate curriculum and in particular its pre-medical program. Around 2003-2004, it was noticed by the Biology faculty that an increasing number of students were displaying difficulty in understanding fundamental principles or in comprehending details. Many students also seemed unable to utilize basic concepts in application-based questions. As a result, instructors in the tightly coordinated General Biology courses were forced to spend more and more time explaining the basics, instead of completing the scheduled topics. Further, they were also unable to introduce any new material in the classroom. The final grades and class GPAs started showing a decline from previous years. This was a highly troublesome situation because the General Biology sequential courses are taken by over 900 students each year and are pre-requisites for all other Biology courses. Without passing these, students are not allowed to proceed to the next series of classes. It may be noted that while these worrisome trends had started before hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the extreme devastation caused by Katrina and the resulting sudden change in student demographics only caused their progression to accelerate. Post-Katrina, as the campus was rebuilding, it was quickly realized that a creative combination of ‘old’ and ‘new’ approaches would have to be implemented immediately to: 1) Improve student learning and performance; 2) Improve student retention; and 3) Increase the number of graduates who would be well-trained and ready to handle the needs of Louisiana and the nation in the ever-expanding fields of the biomedical sciences. To accomplish these goals, the Biology Department (the largest one on campus) undertook a five-year long project entitled ‘Biothrust 21 Program’. Funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents, this initiative utilizes various approaches. These include: 1) Detailed revision of General Biology course content and test banks; 2) Development of new modules; 3) Introduction of personal response units ("clickers") for increased student engagement; 4) Expansion of the existing tutoring center to accommodate mandatory attendance of lower-performing students; and 5) Implementation of newer advising techniques to better track and remediate individual students’ specific academic challenges. In two short years, these combined approaches have produced a noticeable improvement in the mid-semester performance of students from an average of 40% passing (before) to more than 50% passing (now). Overall class GPAs are also showing a positive trend (increasing from an average of ~ 1.65 to ~ 2.00). Based on the responses completed by over 350 students, ~ 58% believe that the creative activities of the tutoring center positively contribute to better understanding and retention of knowledge learned. These preliminary results are highly encouraging because they are based on data points obtained from over 800 students enrolled in these courses for each academic year and lay the foundation for additional studies.

Supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents, U.S.A.
@InProceedings{CARMICHAEL2009XAV,
author = {Carmichael, M. and Barrett, P. and Huggins, K. and Ireland, S.},
title = {XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA BIOTHRUST 21, A POST-KATRINA RECOVERY INITIATIVE: PRODUCING A BETTER PREPARED 21ST CENTURY BIOSCIENCES WORKFORCE FOR LOUISIANA AND THE NATION},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {2696}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Carmichael AU - P. Barrett AU - K. Huggins AU - S. Ireland
TI - XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA BIOTHRUST 21, A POST-KATRINA RECOVERY INITIATIVE: PRODUCING A BETTER PREPARED 21ST CENTURY BIOSCIENCES WORKFORCE FOR LOUISIANA AND THE NATION
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 2696
EP - 2696
ER -
M. Carmichael, P. Barrett, K. Huggins, S. Ireland (2009) XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA BIOTHRUST 21, A POST-KATRINA RECOVERY INITIATIVE: PRODUCING A BETTER PREPARED 21ST CENTURY BIOSCIENCES WORKFORCE FOR LOUISIANA AND THE NATION, ICERI2009 Proceedings, p. 2696.
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