ASM Task Force on Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology Education
In 2010 the American Society for Microbiology published ASM Recommended Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology, a concept-based curriculum for introductory microbiology courses. The guidelines identify six core themes that provide a framework for 27 fundamental concept statements and two key skills. These themes, statements, and skills were selected to promote deep understanding of concepts and skills that are deemed to be of lasting importance beyond the classroom and laboratory.
A second publication, ASM General Microbiology Learning Outcomes: a Working Document, provides a bridge between the concept-based guidelines and the learning outcomes for any general microbiology course. The document offers recommendations from participants at the 2013 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) with edits from the ASM Task Force on Learning Objectives for General Microbiology (Ann Stevens, Virginia Tech [chair]; Kai “Billy” Hung, Eastern Illinois University; Min-Ken Liao, Furman University; and Sue Merkel, Cornell University). It is important to note that the document:
- is a work in progress with ongoing and continuous updates.
- is a sample, NOT comprehensive, list of learning outcomes for microbiology.
- includes learning outcomes that require both lower- and higher-order thinking.
- may include learning outcomes that are assigned to more than one core theme or fundamental statement.
History and Next Steps
In 2010, ASM appointed the Task Force on Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology (Sue Merkel, Cornell University [chair]; Jackie Reynolds, Richland College [co-chair]; Kai “Billy” Hung, Eastern Illinois University; Amy Siegesmund, Pacific Lutheran University; Ann Smith, University of Maryland; and Heidi Smith, Front Range Community College) to revisit guidelines last updated in 2005. The task force made significant updates designed to align the guidelines with recommendations put forth in Vision and Change: A Call for Action in Undergraduate Biology Education (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science). In 2012, ASM published “The Development of Curricular Guidelines for Introductory Microbiology that Focus on Understanding” in its Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE), chronicling the consensus-building approach used to develop the final guidelines. This approach seeks to create critical resources for, by, and with the educator community, including its microbiologist classroom teachers, research scientists, and department heads, along with publishers, policy makers, and funders. The current Call for Comments continues this approach.
At the 2014 ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators, participants will be asked to identify assessments that align with the learning objectives and advance the ASM-recommended guidelines.