Source: UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO IN PONCE submitted to
INTEGRATION OF INTERDISCIPLINARY TECHNIQUES: AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY (ITAB)
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
EXTENDED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0219092
Grant No.
2009-38422-19873
Project No.
PRE-2009-01224
Proposal No.
2009-01224
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
NJ
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2009
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2013
Grant Year
2009
Project Director
Rojas-Vazquez, G. M.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO IN PONCE
PO BOX 7186
PONCE,PR 00732
Performing Department
Department of Biology
Non Technical Summary
University of Puerto Rico-Ponce collaborating with University of Puerto Rico-Utuado and US Forest Service will strengthen the curriculum via experiential learning and scientific instrumentation, and retention. The 75% of students from the Agricultural Biotechnology course and Agricultural Summer Workshops will finish their Baccalaureate or Master in food or agriculture related fields. Students? retention will be measured by universities Registrar Offices.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2012499302025%
2017299302025%
9032499108025%
9037299302025%
Goals / Objectives
The specific performance-based objectives are: (1) to create an interdisciplinary course named Agricultural Biotechnology (3 credits, 45 hours) by the end of the first quarter of the first project year, in accordance with the institutional standard procedures required for the course creation. This course will cover the basic principles of plant biotechnology using current examples, gene mapping in breeding, and transgenic approaches to improve crops. This will be done together with laboratories experiences; (2) to recruit 14 students (six from Biotechnology and eight from Agricultural Technology Program) that will be enrolled in the Agricultural Biotechnology course offered during the second semester and of the Agricultural Summer Workshops of each project year, for a total of 28 students participating at the end of the project; (3) to design the summer workshops in order to integrate agricultural skills in biotechnology, covering: agronomy techniques, social importance of agriculture and the importance of an appropriate management of crops, especially transgenic; (4) to develop related educational materials to be used in the course and in the summer workshops, such as protocols for Recombinant DNA Techniques and PCR, and handouts; (5) to provide tutoring services in biotechnology to agricultural students, offered by an outstanding biotechnology major student. The performance-based objective 1, 3 and 4, will be based on Agricultural Biotechnology syllabi and workshops production and revision: course objectives, concepts or focus themes to be taught, assessment and evaluation methods to be employed. The performance-based objective 2 will be based on the analysis of students' recruitment and retention for the second semester and summer: promotion, students reached, number of students applying for admission to the project, number of students impacted in the project. The performance of students during the project will be measured in order to correlate the effectiveness of the tutoring service, stated in the performance-based objective 5. The experiences proposed within this project will serve to improve students' skills to become outstanding and competitive professionals capable to enter and stay successfully in the pipeline of the 21st century highly skilled food and agriculture related workforce.
Project Methods
First Year - During the first semester, meetings between Project Director (PD) and project's personnel will be performed to: (1) create the syllabus for the Agricultural Biotechnology course and the educational material (e.g., handouts and protocols), to be offered during the second semester of every project's year. The course will be created under the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (UPRP) Honor Studies Program and it will only require a submission of the course' syllabus. The course will cover the basic principles of plant biotechnology using current examples, gene mapping in breeding, and transgenic approaches to improve crops. These actions will be done along with laboratories experiences, (2) submit requisitions, (3) select the biotechnology tutor for the next semester, (4) promote the project in order to recruit 14 students, six from UPRP (Baccalaureate Degree in Biology with a Sub-concentration in Biotechnology) and eight from University of Puerto Rico in Utuado (UPRU, Associate Degree in Agricultural Production Technology), (5) recruit one professor from UPRU (prior application), (6) complete the documentation for students registration. For each enrolled student, a list containing the following data will be prepared: name, enrollment number, entering GPA, academic program GPA, enrollment year, and number of credits approved, failed and withdrawn; and (7) create a webpage for the project in the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce homepage. During the second semester, the Agricultural Biotechnology course will be offered and the tutoring will be available to participant students. Also, meetings between PD and the project's personnel will be performed to: (1) create the Agricultural Summer Workshops and the educational materials (e.g., handouts). A series of six summer workshops of six hours each on agronomy techniques will be conducted during the summer period of every project's year. Among the areas to be covered are: social importance of agriculture and the importance of an appropriate management of crops, especially transgenic, and (2) register students from the Agricultural Biotechnology course on the summer workshops, (3) recruit one professor from UPRP (prior application). The evaluation plan for documenting and collecting data for assessment, evaluation, and determining progress outcomes of the Project is based upon close interaction, interviews, surveys, and data collecting procedures among the targeted students, faculty, collaborators, and the Project Evaluator (PE). At the end of each year, an evaluation report documenting the project performance indicators outcomes for each of Project's major objectives will be present by the PE to the PD. Second Year - Based on the evaluation report, strategies used during the offering of the Agricultural Biotechnology course and the Summer Workshops could be modified. Additional 14 students and one professor will be recruited following the same parameters as in the first year. During the second semester, the same dynamic of the first year will be followed.

Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/12

Outputs
OUTPUTS: During the first semester of the academic year 2011-2012, the interdisciplinary course Agricultural Biotechnology of Plants (3 credits, 45 hours) was offered to eight students (four from UPR-Utuado and four from UPR-Ponce). The course was a team-teaching and exposes the students to a variety of hands-on activities: identification of plant morphology, experiments, data analysis, troubleshooting, PCR, DNA sequencing and extraction, among others. At the end of the course each student presented written and orally an agriculture biotechnology research proposal. During the semester, tutoring was available and offered by outstanding biotechnology major student, along with distance learning strategies and approaches, such as Backboard and Elluminate platforms. PARTICIPANTS: Professor Gloria M. Rojas Vazquez, Project Director, worked with the administrative services, scheduled the course, acquired the materials and equipment, and worked on the recruitment of students . Also, she requisitioned academic and laboratory materials and maintained an inventory, kept time sheets and payroll records for staff, check reports, vouchers and other documents. Both, Dr. Edu Suarez, Genetic and Biotechnology Professor, and Prof. Carlos Semidei, Agriculture Techniques Professor, collaborated inthe teaching of the Agricultural Biotechnology of Plants Course. Two tutors and one Research Technician were recruited to assist students and Dr. Suarez, respectively. Two Hispanic-Serving Institutions will be collaborating, University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (Bachelor in Biology with a Sub-concentration in Biotechnology) and University of Puerto Rico in Utuado (UPRU, Associate Degree in Technology of Agriculture Production. TARGET AUDIENCES: The Project Integration of Interdisciplinary Techniques: Agricultural Biotechnology facilitated a cooperative initiative between the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (UPRP) and the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado (UPRU), both Hispanic-Serving Institutions. During this period four students from the associate degree in Agricultural Production Technology Program at UPRU and four from the Biotechnology sub-concentration at UPRP took the course Agricultural Biotechnology of Plants (45hours/3cdts). PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
A survey was sended at the end of may. At this moment, 88 percent of the participants have demonstrated interest in the field of Agricultural Biotechnology and 86 percent have stated to increase hands on experiences by performing techniques thru laboratories exercises. In order to intitutionalize the Agricultural Biotechnology of Plants course, the PD submitted to the Biology Department the request to change the its codification to BIOL 4XXX. The course will be an elective course for the students from the biotechnology sub-concentration at the UPR-Ponce.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 09/01/10 to 08/31/11

Outputs
OUTPUTS: The Project Integration of Interdisciplinary Techniques: Agricultural Biotechnology in plants facilitated a cooperative initiative between the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (UPRP) and the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado (UPRU), both Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Agricultural Production Technology Program of at the UPRU offers to the students an associate degree with no courses focus on genetics and biotechnology. On the other hand, students from UPRP from Biotechnology do not realize the importance of the biotechnology in the agriculture. This project facilitated those students in acquiring relevant skills on biotechnology techniques focuses in agriculture via the course Agricultural Biotechnology of Plants. The course was team-teaching and offered at the University of UPRP. Three professors were facilitators, one from botany, agriculture and biotechnology. Also, tutoring was available during the academic semester along with distance learning strategies and approaches, such as Backboard and Elluminate. All these facilitated the communications and the teaching and learning process. The participating students were exposed to a variety of hands-on experiences: collection, identification of the plant morphology, the driving of tractors, laboratory techniques as transformation, real time, PCR, DNA sequencing, tissue culture, electrophoresis, DNA extraction. PARTICIPANTS: Professor Gloria M. Rojas Vazquez, Project Director, worked with the administrative services, the development of the syllabus, activated and scheduled the course, acquired the materials and equipment, and worked on the recruitment of students . Also, she requisitioned academic and laboratory materials and maintained an inventory, kept time sheets and payroll records for staff, check reports, vouchers and other documents. Also, she assisted to any required meeting or workshop. Dr. Edu Suarez, Biotechnology Professor, collaborated in the development of the syllabus, as well as on the hands-on experiences. She covered the biotechnology themes, most of the syllabus. Prof. Carlos Semidei Delgado collaborated offering workshops and conferences in agricultural techniques. Two tutors and one Research Technician Evaluator were recruited to assist students and Dr. Suarez, respectively. Since the project begins, Dr. Rosario Rios; the Project Evaluator, gathered information from the participants and established the Project perceptions and statistical analysis base line data. Two Hispanic-Serving Institutions will be collaborating, University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (Bachelor in Biology with a Sub-concentration in Biotechnology) and University of Puerto Rico in Utuado (UPRU, Associate Degree in Technology of Agriculture Production). One professor from the UPRU; Irma Perez, was trained in the course. She complete the 45 hours of the course. In order, to accomplished goals in some workshops volunteer farmers collaborate facilitating their farms. TARGET AUDIENCES: The Project Integration of Interdisciplinary Techniques: Agricultural Biotechnology in plants facilitated a cooperative initiative between the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (UPRP) and the University of Puerto Rico in Utuado (UPRU), both Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Agricultural Production Technology Program of at the UPRU offers to the students an associate degree with no courses focus on genetics and biotechnology. On the other hand, students from UPRP from Biotechnology do not realize the importance of the biotechnology in the agriculture. This project facilitated those students in acquiring relevant skills on biotechnology techniques focuses in agriculture via the course Agricultural Biotechnology of Plants (45hours/3cdts). One professor from the UPRU was trained in the course. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
At the end of the semester students were surveyed. The results indicates: 93% stated that the methodologies motivate their interest; 92% were challenge for presenting new ideas or criterion in the final scientific proposal project; 91% expressed that eh experience helped to increment their team work capacity; and 100% were in very much accordance with the following facts: the laboratory experience helped to complement the course offered and helped to acquire more skill, and they could apply the principles taught within other courses and experiences.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 09/01/09 to 08/31/10

Outputs
The course PREH 4990 B01 was created, offered, and paid by the ITAB Project to 15 students (five from UPR-Utuado and ten from UPR-Ponce. Among the course specific objectives were: to describe the impact of the biotechnology in the agriculture, to describe the requirements for genetic expression and transformation, to know the regulation of biotechnology on the agriculture, to be able to transform cells. In order to accomplished the course objectives and the hands on activities state of the art equipments were acquired. At the end of the course, each student was able to present a viable proposal. Invited speakers, and the use of Blackboard and Elluminate were part of the activities during the course. Also, educational materials and tutors were provided. Once the course finished, the students took six summer workshops. The workshops integrate mainly agricultural techniques on the field, especially at the Research Area in the UPR-Ponce. The webpage of the project ITAB is already available at the site of the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (www.uprp.edu). According with the external evaluator the ITAB objectives is in compliance with the actions, objectives and goals for the first year of the Project, but some recommendation was offered. The recommendations were: the participating teaching personnel should be surveyed for attaining their perceptions towards action and performance of the Project, in the same way, the tutored students should also be surveyed for determining the value of these services, a listing which registers the academic profile and academic performance of the participating students should be made for documenting retention and academic progress of the students, for these purposes, forms have been created for helping to gather this requested information by the Evaluator of the Project, and it should be highly considered by the key Staff of the Project to perform a federal-funded proposal for the creation and establishment of a Baccalaureate Academic Degree in Agro-Biotechnology, were UPR-Ponce can be the leader institution for granting the degree, since already is a four-year institution, and UPR Utuado can be the feeder institution, for transfer students. PRODUCTS: No products were produced. OUTCOMES: The course PREH 4990-B01 (as a common course for UPR-Ponce and UPR-Utuado) and the workshops complement the biotechnology and agricultural curriculum with a common cause that will serve as a link between both institutions academic programs. According to the questionnaires at least the 90% of the participants developed interest in the agricultural technology and increased their hands-on experiences by performing techniques thru laboratories exercises. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES: Powerpoint presentations was offered by professors of UPR-Ponce and UPR-Utuado to recruit students from both institutions. Also, students talk their peers about their experiences in the ITAB Project. A webpage of the project ITAB is already available at the site of the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce (www.uprp.edu). FUTURE INITIATIVES: The course will be part of future plans for the establishment of a Baccalaureate Academic Degree in Agro-Biotechnology or a curricular sequence, were UPR-Ponce can be the leader institution for granting the degree, since already is is a four-year institution, and UPR Utuado can be the feeder institution, for transfer students.

Impacts
Directly, during the first year, 15 students (five from UPR-Utuado and ten from UPR-Ponce) were impact (participants), two tutors, the professors who offered the course and the workshops, and the acquisition and availability of state of the art equipment for teaching the course as part of the curriculum. The most important impact is that students who took the course have a new vision of the applications of the biotechnology on the agriculture and were exposed to different alternatives.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period