P809: Getting pre-professional students through biochemistry in their second year with an organic first curriculum

Author: Michael Kahlow, University of Wisconsin - River Falls, USA


Date: 8/6/14

Time: 2:25 PM2:45 PM

Room: ASH 2302

Related Symposium: S23

Recent changes to the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT2015) place an increased emphasis on Biochemistry. This has pressured universities to teach biochemical content earlier in their curriculum. In 2008 the University of Wisconsin – River Falls developed a three semester Organic First Chemistry curriculum, starting with two semesters of Organic Chemistry with infused general chemistry concepts (first year) followed by a semester of General Chemistry in fall of the second year. This curriculum allows students to take a newly developed one-semester Biochemistry course in Spring of their second year. We will present student progression and ACS standardized exam results for students for the past three years of our Organic First curriculum, and summarize results for the first cohort to take Biochemistry in their second year.

P375: Assessing and improving STEM student retention

Author: Michael Kahlow, University of Wisconsin - River Falls, USA

Co-Author: Jamie L. Schneider, Bradley Caskey and Kristina Anderson, University of Wisconsin - River Falls, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 6:00 PM7:15 PM

Room: KC

Related Symposium: S33

Internal studies at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls (UWRF) showed that, at our institution 1) fewer than 40% of incoming STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students go on to receive a degree in a STEM field, and 2) two-thirds of incoming STEM students receive a DFW grade in an introductory STEM course, typically in Chemistry or Mathematics. Typically poor performance in an introductory STEM course led to the student leaving STEM and/or the institution. These numbers are not much better for students in the top quartile of their high school class and/or with ACT composite of 27 or greater; nearly half of these students received DFW grades in introductory STEM courses and just over half were successful in obtaining a STEM degree. To address these issues and improve retention and graduation, UWRF has instituted the GREAT (Graduate, Retain, Engage, Advise, Team Learning) Falcon Project, funded by the National Science Foundation’s STEP program. Three activities are being implemented to promote student success in STEM: Use of Active Learning pedagogies in introductory STEM courses with grant support for faculty development opportunities, Introduction of Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) in key Chemistry and Mathematics courses, including General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Precalculus, and Calculus, and Implementation of a hybrid advising structure to provide proactive advising to students before they leave STEM or the institution. We will present a summary of our project along with the data that lead to the design of our project.