BI415 Senior Research

for FA 2010

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


BI 415 Senior Research


FA 2010 HOC


Taulman, James


Assistant Professor of Biology


PhD Zoology, PostDoc, Conservation Biology, University of Arkansas
MS Biology, Central Washington University
BA Math, BS Biology, Univ. Texas at Arlington

Office Location

Sc 101

Office Hours

M-W-F: 10 - 12, T - Th: 9 - 10

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates

16 August 2010 - 12 December 2010

Class Days

To be determined

Class Time

To be determined


Permission of instructor

Credit Hours



 None.  Relevant and required source materials will be acquired by the student, suggested or supplied by the advisor in consultation with the student, and read and learned by the student.  The student will be expected to become the local resident expert in the specific topic being explored.

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Course Description:
This course is a limited, but original biological research project which will investigate (a) specific biological question(s) in an experimental manner. Data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted. Conclusions will be derived and/or limitations of the study will be determined. The ultimate results of this project, no matter the degree of success, will be reported in both a written research report of the proper form and as one or more formal oral presentations.  The final written report will be in the format of a scientific journal manuscript and will represent the student's best work, carefully crafted, edited, and proofed.  It is expected to demonstrate a high level of literacy.
Students excelling in this course will gain vital experience in conducting research/collecting data and performing critical analysis in pursuit of the academic scholarly model. Students will train in a focused area under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor who will train them to be a researcher. Undergraduate research students will work collaboratively with their mentor to plan a course of study, formulate appropriate research questions, develop appropriate conceptual and technical skills, evaluate research findings, draw conclusions, and present a scholarly summary of this work in both written and oral reports.
The culmination of this regular schedule of study will be formal presentation of research findings in a professional forum and the submission of a written final research report in the format appropriate to the field or discipline. Participants in undergraduate research can expect to present their research findings, or a progress report, at Park's annual Research and Creative Scholarship Forum.  The student may also create a poster outlining the research project and results suitable for presentation at a scientific association conference.

This project will complement and expand on a traditional biology education by emphasizing two essentials of a superior education:
       1. Active involvement of the student in performing all aspects of research scholarship -- as opposed to acting as the passive recipient of other people's written and spoken words of wisdom.
       2. Hands-on training in all phases of "research" is provided under optimal supervision by direct collaboration with (a) faculty mentor(s). The student benefits from considerable guidance from faculty mentors -- in planning a course of study, in formulating research questions, in developing conceptual and technical skills, in evaluating research findings, and in presenting research in both written and oral reports. Each undergraduate researcher will be trained in skills employed by research scientists.

Educational Philosophy:

The best learning is by doing; this immerses the student in experience and process. Simple hearing and seeing and repeating often do not suffice to learn a complex topic, but learners remember most of what they do. This course is designed as a hands-on undergraduate research project supervised directly by a faculty mentor to emphasize the higher order skills of a student who has successfully reached junior standing. Critical thinking, creation of an experimental plan, review, analysis, extrapolation, interpolation, evaluation, prediction, and employment of knowledge are emphasized in this course of learning.
It is expected that the student will take current knowledge pertaining to the research topic, apply that knowledge, and possibly have the opportunity to creatively modify or improve on known methods to solve specific problems or unexpected outcomes during the course of the project.

Class Assessment:

1. Data collection in a systematic and timely fashion, using methods described in proposal.  20%
2. Weekly meetings with advisor to discuss progress of research and modify study protocol as required.  20%
3.  Analysis of results and written report submitted at the end of the semester.  50%
4.  Oral presentation of results of study.  5%
5.  Poster presenting results of study for display on campus or at association conference.  5%


Grading Scale: 
A = >= 90
B = 80 - 89
C = 70 - 79
D = 60 - 69
F = <= 59

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Not permitted.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1. The undergraduate research student and faculty mentor will meet on average once a week at a mutually agreeable time.
2. Student will take notes concerning what is discussed and research plans for the next week.
3. Periodic work sessions will be scheduled to ensure completion of the project.
4. Every effort should be made to complete the investigation in a reasonable length of time.
5. Progress of the research project will be discussed with the departmental chair and any interested faculty.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

During BI415, the undergraduate researcher is actively working under the supervision of their faculty mentor(s) on their individual project as set out in their research proposal. Research is time consuming and great must be exercised by the student in budgeting enought time to complete the work.
The Expectations for BI415 Student Research: 
  1. Students will communicate regularly with their academic mentor and academic advisor concerning continued research activities and projections of what will be accomplished.  
  2. Students must have approval of the instructor to enroll or to continue with their research.   
  3. The research mentor(s) will directly oversee and guide the student through the particulars of the research process.
  4. While all course arrangements are made between the student and the research mentor(s), the student must continue to show visible progress in their plan of study.
  5. As with all research, the outcome may not turn out as expected. The goal of this research arrangement is to allow students the opportunity to engage in advanced studies; thus, the process itself is just as important as the product.  
  6. For each semester of BI415, the student is enrolled for from 2-3 credit hours. This means there is an expectation by the department and mentor that the student will spend an average of 3-9 hours each week working on their project. Over the course of a 16-week semester, the student will devote approximately 48-164 hours to their research project.
  7. The nature of research means that there will be some weeks where little progress is made and other times when rapid progress is made and the student spends all their spare time working on research. It is the research mentor(s)’s responsibility to work with the student to determine the amount of time and the time distribution required for each project.     

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Plajiarism in the final report is not permitted.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:5/11/2010 3:18:33 PM