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Quality Enhancement Plan

Executive Summary


A significant portion (more than 60%) of ULM’s first-time, full-time, degree seeking student population pursues a career in STEM or health sciences professions, thus making life sciences an important focus of ULM science initiatives. 


Coinciding with the demographics of the student population are ULM’s mission and vision statements:

Mission Statement: “The University of Louisiana Monroe seeks students who find value in our programs and prepares them to compete, succeed, and contribute in an ever-changing global society through a transformative education.” 

Vision Statement: “The University of Louisiana Monroe will be recognized among the top 200 universities in the nation for excellence in teaching, research, and innovation, with an emphasis on the health sciences.”  

These characteristics and beliefs guided the creation and development of the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, ULM: FOCUS on Biology.  


Analyses of student success data between 2012 and 2017 identified two introductory, gateway courses hindering fulfillment of ULM’s mission and vision. The first, BIOL 1014 - Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology I, is the gateway biology course for students on a pre-allied health sciences path, and BIOL 1020 -Principles of Biology I, is the gateway biology course for STEM majors. Approximately 335 students enroll in BIOL 1014 each fall; yet, only 67% earn a passing (ABC) grade. Similarly, of the 330 students who enroll in BIOL 1020 each fall, 76% pass the course. FOCUS on Biology seeks to increase student success in these courses through instructional enhancement.


FOCUS will be integrated into all sections of these courses and will be directed and administered by the QEP Coordinator, a biology faculty member hired specifically for this purpose. FOCUS will be taught as a fourth class hour/period during the week. The Coordinator will operate under the supervision of the Director of the School of Sciences, who for these purposes reports directly to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and SACSCOC Liaison.


The primary goal of ULM’s QEP is to improve performance and success of STEM and pre-health sciences freshmen students in two gateway biology courses. The QEP will use high-impact practices to implement an innovative strategy focused on improving student learning by enhancing critical thinking. This QEP is a commitment to the university, its students, and future employers to engage students in active learning, help them develop their critical thinking skills, and increase student success in introductory biology courses.


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