1. Become critical readers of complex texts;
Students learn to read and interpret primary neuroscience research literature and experimental protocols. These complex texts include associated supporting data, complicated methodologies, and detailed diagrams.
2. Develop research and analytical skills;
Students develop research and analytical skills in several possible ways:
design and run basic scientific experiments, in some of these the results of which are not predetermined. Students contribute to these laboratory experiments using information derived from primary literature sources, and test a hypothesis by gathering data using appropriate neuroscience research techniques including spectrophotometry, electrophysiology, microscopy, behavioral observation and quantification, and computer based cognitive tests
3. Learn and practice effective strategies for working both independently and collaboratively;
Some of the work is independent (see other Learning Goals). Group cooperation and collaboration in the design and performance of laboratory experiments is coupled with individual analysis and reporting of results.
Beyond laboratory experiments, students work collaboratively in several possible ways among our courses:
In some cases, several students are assigned as discussion leaders for each week.
Students meet informally as a small group with guest researchers, and asking questions and participating in the discussion is required.
Students work in pairs to develop a research proposal that mimics the type of collaboration found in science. In some cases students also collaborate on the presentation.
Students work in small groups on several projects throughout the semester.
Students organize and present a special research symposium, which is open to the campus community.
4. Develop the ability to communicate clearly, coherently, and effectively in written and oral expression;
We foster a variety of opportunities for students to hone their written and oral communication skills:
Overall, we encourage class participation, and exam questions aim to go beyond the basic information. Exams and other assignments are diverse, and questions range from multiple choice to essays to diagrams to enable students to integrate information and articulate clearly what they have learned.
5. Acquire quantitative skills;
Quantitative skills are acquired through and required for data analysis, making solutions and measurements using laboratory equipment, as some examples; data collection is incorporated into nearly all exercises with analysis and interpretation reported in subsequent laboratory reports. Quantitative skills are also required to understand the specific content of some courses.
6. Develop scientific literacy;
Scientific literacy in the Neuroscience Major has both intellectual and experimental components.
In general, students learn the fundamental aspects of neuroscience – neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry and neurological disorders – and learn to integrate across these levels of analysis to understand how the brain works.
Intellectually, to access primary scientific research, students will 1. identify the central hypothesis or goal; 2. understand the basics of the experimental approach; 3. articulate the critical findings; 4. articulate the implications of this research
Experimentally, students learn hands-on science in a research laboratory – how to collect, analyze and interpret data.
7. Develop artistic literacy;
8. Attain competency in a language other than English;
9. Cultivate the ability to make informed ethical judgments;
All laboratory exercises or faculty research involving living organisms are conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. This ethical responsibility is emphasized, and a general discussion of ethical use of animals in research, and strategies which reduce the use of animals, is initiated in several required courses. In all cases, appropriate techniques for avoiding or alleviating pain and stress in experimental animals are incorporated into the experimental design.
10. Acquire knowledge of diverse cultural traditions and global perspectives