Three years ago, the
The major project goals were to increase enrollment, retention and graduation rates. Strategies included strong internal recruitment, mandatory faculty advising, curriculum enhancement, and development of articulation agreements with four-year colleges to create pathways for students into the biotechnology field.
To spark interest in the program, a biotechnology module was created and incorporated into all general biology classes to reach students already at NOVA. Mandatory faculty advising that focuses on student engagement and motivation is credited with increasing the retention rate. Faculty also developed a specialized student handbook that will help recruit new students and reinforce retention because biotechnology students now have clear guidelines for success.
The program's curriculum was enhanced to train high quality workers who meet industry needs, with competencies that are assessed through a rigorous final exam for each subject. In addition, a new articulation agreement with
Before graduating from the Biotechnology Program, students must complete an internship. With help from faculty recommendations, students have secured prestigious internships at such institutions and universities as the
"Our students must demonstrate the appropriate knowledge and skills before they are placed in an internship. Our lab resembles an industry setting so by the time our students graduate they are ready to enter the biotechnology workforce," said Ia Gomez,
The project's external evaluation showed that 100 percent of recent biotechnology graduates are either completing a four-year degree or employed at a biotechnology company.
"Under Dr. Gomez's leadership with our faculty team, NOVA's Biotechnology Program has become a flagship program for the entire College,"
NOVA offers an associate degree in biotechnology and a shorter certificate program. For more information, go to www.nvcc.edu/manassas/biotech or call Gomez at 703-530-8255.
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