REQUEST FOR PRE-AUTHORIZATION OF A MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MICROBIOLOGY AT UW-LA CROSSE PREPARED BY UW-LA CROSSE ABSTRACT

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1 REQUEST FOR PRE-AUTHORIZATION OF A MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MICROBIOLOGY AT UW-LA CROSSE PREPARED BY UW-LA CROSSE ABSTRACT The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse seeks to establish a Master of Science in Microbiology. Currently, UWL offers a M.S. in Biology with concentrations in Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology (among others) housed in the Department of Biology. The existing Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology concentrations within the Biology M.S. program will become M.S. in Microbiology and M.S. in Microbiology: Clinical Microbiology concentration degree tracks housed in the Department of Microbiology. PROGRAM IDENTIFICATION Institution Name University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Title of Proposed Programs Master of Science in Microbiology Degree/Major Designations Master of Science in Microbiology with a concentration in Clinical Microbiology Mode of Delivery Single institution; Classroom and laboratory instruction, mentored research and clinical rotations. Projected Enrollment by Year Five Currently, there are 21 students in the two Microbiology M.S. concentrations. This is reflective of accepting five to eight students per year into the programs. These numbers, at a minimum, will be expected to continue. However, we are planning for expansion of the Microbiology master s programs. Future programs being explored include a Professional Science Master s in Industrial Microbiology/Biotechnology (accepting 12 students per year), an expansion of the existing Clinical Microbiology concentration (an additional 3 students accepted per year), the development of a Clinical Lab Sciences B.S./Clinical Microbiology M.S. dual degree program (2-3 students per year), and the development of an International Student track within the Clinical Microbiology concentration (2 students per year). If all these programs are successfully developed, total enrollment of Microbiology graduate students could expand to as many as 60 students. Tuition Structure For students enrolled in the M.S. in Microbiology program, the standard tuition and fees for UW- La Crosse graduate students will apply. For the current academic year, the residential tuition and fees total $8,882 per year for a full-time student. Non-residents pay $18,760. In addition, students in the Clinical Microbiology concentration pay $3941 (FY15) in clinical experience fees over the course of the program.

2 Department or Functional Equivalent Department of Microbiology College, School, or Functional Equivalent College of Science and Health Proposed Date of Implementation Fall, 2016 INTRODUCTION 1. Why is the program being proposed? What is the relation to the institution s mission? The Department of Microbiology is seeking to create and administer a Master of Science in Microbiology degree program. Currently, the Department of Biology offers a Master of Science degree in Biology, with possible concentrations in six different areas of biology. Two concentrations, Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology, are administered primarily through faculty in the Department of Microbiology, though some aspects are jointly administered with the Department of Biology. The Department of Microbiology, created in 1999, is well posed to administer their own graduate program. The Department consists of eight tenure-track faculty, three instructional academic staff and three support staff. Departmental members have maintained strong records of teaching, scholarship and service. The implementation of a Master of Science degree in Microbiology program would further strengthen the Department of Microbiology by giving the Microbiology M.S. program more visibility and recognition off campus. Doing so will help in recruiting both graduate students and new faculty. Several recent faculty candidates were curious as to why the Department of Microbiology did not have an independent M.S. program. Furthermore, an M.S. in Microbiology would allow increased flexibility and efficiency in program development and improvement. Changes currently in development include plans for a Professional Science Master s in Industrial Microbiology/Biotechnology, a Clinical Lab Sciences B.S./Clinical Microbiology M.S. dual degree program and a variation of the Clinical Microbiology concentrations specifically for international students. Creation of a Master of Science in Microbiology degree program will streamline approval of these possible programs. Further, with the development of a possible suit of M.S in Microbiology programs, it will be most efficient for control and responsibility of these programs to be housed within the Department of Microbiology. Additional reasons for having a Microbiology M.S. program include relieving confusion among applicants and having a degree that better reflects their training. Currently, applicants to the Microbiology concentrations are sometimes unclear whether to send some application materials to Department of Biology or Department of Microbiology. Regarding the degree, recent graduates from the Clinical Microbiology and Microbiology concentrations have stated that they would prefer a degree that says Microbiology rather than Biology since that better reflects their training and what they feel was their home department. 2

3 The proposed Master of Science in Microbiology program aligns with the UW-L Select Mission by offering graduate programs and degrees related to areas of emphasis and strength within the university. The Department of Microbiology and the current Clinical Microbiology and Microbiology M.S. concentrations have a proven record of producing M.S. graduates with sound knowledge of science in their area of study. Our graduates are proficient at research, experimental design and capable of independently performing techniques required of their research. They are also effective in oral and written scientific communication. The strength of the Microbiology M.S. program is further evidenced by the success of those who have graduated from the programs. 2. How does the program fit into the institution s overall strategic plan? The UW-L Strategic Plan calls for academic programs that...foster and produce: critical thinkers, lifelong learners, skilled and collaborative practitioners and global citizens who use knowledge and technology with wisdom and ethics. The following proposed goals of the program align well with the UW-L Strategic Plan. Students completing an M.S in Microbiology: A. have mastered general knowledge of microbiology and detailed knowledge of one specialized aspect of microbiology. B. can critically evaluate scientific papers. C. can effectively communicate scientific knowledge in written and oral forms. D. can design, conduct and interpret scientific experiments. 3. Do current students need or want the program? There is already a high demand for admittance into the Clinical Microbiology and Microbiology concentrations within the Biology M.S. program despite modest promotion of the graduate programs. We consistently deny admission to qualified students, especially to the Clinical Microbiology concentration. 4. Does market research indicate demand? Since the Clinical Microbiology and Microbiology concentrations already exist within the Biology M.S. program, market research has not been done to assess demand for these programs. However, as mentioned, there are consistently more qualified applicants than we can admit. Additionally, there is high demand for our graduates as students are often hired before they graduate. While a Professional Science Master s (PSM) in Industrial Microbiology/Biotechnology is not part of this proposal, market research has been conducted by Hanover Research to assess the demand for said program. Responses to the survey indicated strong industry demand for graduates of such a program. Additionally, 12 organizations responded that they would be interested in partnering with the Department of Microbiology to deliver a PSM program. 3

4 5. How does the program represent emerging knowledge, or new directions in professions and disciplines? The proposed Microbiology degree is a fairly standard M.S. program for the biological sciences, with an emphasis on coursework and original research. The Microbiology: Clinical Microbiology concentration is unique in this country because, in addition to coursework and original research, there is also an emphasis on clinical diagnostics. While both of these programs will not be new directions at UW-L, the M.S. degrees in the biological sciences are in high demand, and that demand is likely to further increase. With many of the advanced degrees in the biological sciences being PhDs, and talk of a glut of PhDs, we see a need for more M.S. graduates. Currently, our graduates are readily hired by employers who are seeking employees with greater research, critical thinking and communication skills than typical of a B.S. degree holder. Additionally, the PSM in development does reflect a growing trend in graduate education. PSM programs are designed to produce graduates that fill a management need at technologybased companies, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM 1. Describe general structure of program, including: A. Ways in which program fits into institutional program array and academic plan, including positive and negative impacts of program on existing programs The Clinical Microbiology and Microbiology concentrations are already an important part of the UW-L master s program array. Converting the two concentrations under the M.S. in Microbiology degree housed in Department of Microbiology will not change the programs, but, via the creation of an additional stand-alone program, will increase the emphasis and visibility of graduate programs in the STEM fields at UW-La Crosse. B. The extent to which the program is duplicative of existing programs in the University of Wisconsin System Among University of Wisconsin System institutions, UW-Madison grants a M.S. in Bacteriology, while both UW-Oshkosh and UW-Milwaukee offers Master s degrees in Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology. C. The collaborative nature of the program, if appropriate, including community partners and specific institutional responsibilities. Faculty in the Departments of Biology and Microbiology regularly collaborate in training graduate students under the current master s program structure and this will continue if the 4

5 Department of Microbiology has an independent graduate program. Faculty from the two departments co-teach some graduate courses. Additionally, students in the Microbiology concentrations may study under the direction of Biology faculty, while students in Biology concentrations may study under the direction of Microbiology faculty. The Clinical Microbiology concentration also involves collaboration with community partners. Students do clinical rotations at Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic and the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene. Responsibilities of the various institutions are delineated in a Program Memorandum and Affiliation Agreements. 2. Brief overview of program outcomes and curriculum. The student learning outcomes for the M.S. in Microbiology will be as follows: Upon completion of the program students will 1. Demonstrate thorough knowledge in an area of specialization within the Biological Sciences. 2. Develop and complete a scientifically sound research product in an ethical manner. 3. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate scientific literature. 4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate scientific ideas using both oral and written skills. The curriculum for the proposed programs will be consistent with the already established Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology concentrations. Students enrolled in the M.S. in Microbiology program will complete 30 credits, 50% of which must be from 700 level credits. The student, in consultation with a faculty advisory committee, will choose the classes from a list of 28 courses. Students in the Microbiology: Clinical Microbiology concentration will complete a total of 32 credits. The Clinical Microbiology concentration is a more structured program as described below. Within each program, there will continue to be thesis and non-thesis tracks. The thesis track will involves original research, while the non-thesis track will involve completion of a seminar paper. For the General Microbiology concentration, the student, in consultation with a faculty advisory committee, chooses the classes from a list of 28 courses. However, the Clinical Microbiology concentration is a more structured program as described below. The Clinical Microbiology curriculum is as follows: Thesis Track Course Credits Mic 500: Orientation to Clinical Microbiology 2 Mic 554: Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenicity 2 Mic 751: Graduate Seminar 2 Mic 753: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases 2 Mic 755: Advanced Immunology 2 5

6 Mic 770: Clinical Microbiology-Practicum I 5 Mic 780: Clinical Microbiology-Practicum II 4 Mic 790: Clinical Microbiology-Practicum III 2 Mic 799: Research: Master s Thesis 6 Elective Credits 5 Total Credits 32 Non-Thesis Track Course Credits Mic 500: Orientation to Clinical Microbiology 2 Mic 554: Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenicity 2 Mic 751: Graduate Seminar 2 Mic 753: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases 2 Mic 755: Advanced Immunology 2 Mic 770: Clinical Microbiology-Practicum I 5 Mic 780: Clinical Microbiology-Practicum II 4 Mic 790: Clinical Microbiology-Practicum III 2 Mic 761: Research and Seminar in Microbiology 2 Elective Credits 9 Total Credits Discussion of any need for external accreditation for program viability. No external accreditation will be sought for these graduate programs. 4. Additional projected resource needs and sources for these resources. No additional resources need will be requested. 5. Letter of Support from the Dean 6

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