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Recruitment and Retention of Biology Majors

Activities that promoted increase in enrollment and graduation of biology majors (total and underrepresented groups)

Grant#0622421. RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF BIOLOGY MAJORS AT THE UNIVERISTY OF NORTHERN COLORADO C.S. Gardiner, R.A. Adams, G.K. DeKrey, R.J. Reinsvold, L.A. Reinsvold School of Biological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado

The STEP Project at the University of Northern Colorado was called BIOTA for “Biology Is your Opportunity To Achieve”. The program's two primary goals were 1) to increase the number of undergraduate students graduating with BS degrees in Biological Sciences, and 2) increase the number of students choosing biology as a major (especially from underrepresented groups). To accomplish these goals, the BIOTA program provided several recruitment and retention experiences including 1) undergraduate research experiences, 2) undergraduate scholarships, 3) biology freshmen seminar study skills courses, 4) tutorial-style companion courses to accompany introductory biology classes, 5) peer mentoring, 6) academic advising, 7) a dedicated living-learning community on one floor of the dorms focused on biology students, and 8) social activities to foster a sense of community.

Our project began in June 2007. We are currently in our sixth and terminal year (the no-cost extension year) of our project. The number of students choosing biology as a major increased from 293 in Fall 2005 (our baseline year) to 422 in Fall 2011 (a gain of 44%), which exceeded the project benchmark of a 25% increase. The mean % of biology majors from minorities during the five years before the project began was 13.2%. During the five years of the project, the mean percentage of biology majors increased to 17.6% which exceeded our proposed benchmark of 17%. The number of biology graduates increased from 32 (05-06 AY) to 64 (11-12 AY). This was a 100% increase which exceeded our proposed benchmark of 30% increase. In addition the number of minority biology graduates increased from 4 (05-06 AY) to 9 (11-12 AY). This was a 125% increase which exceeded our proposed benchmark of 40%.

Lead Author

  • Gardiner, C.S.

Authors

Name Organization
Adams, R. A. University of Northern Colorado
DeKrey, G. K. University of Northern Colorado
Reinsvold, R. J. University of Northern Colorado
Reinsvold, L. A. University of Northern Colorado

Institution Information

  • Name: University of Northern Colorado
  • State: CO

Poster Information

  • ID: LC-011
  • Disciplinary Focus: Science
  • Award Number: 0622421
  • Project Year 5+