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Anoka Ramsey Community College

Research at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) began in 2006 with the establishment of an intensive independent summer research program in the area of Genetics and Molecular Biology in collaboration with the University of Minnesota.  Since then, additional research projects have been developed within the context of existing courses, as a separate course, and as independent study options.  Involving students in undergraduate research early in their academic career when they are students at ARCC provides valuable experience, as well as critical thinking and skill development that contribute to our students' future successes in academics and their career.

Summer Research

Summer Research: Independent Research Summer Program (IRSP) Initiated in 2006, the Independent Research SummerProgram is a multidisciplinary initiative that includes opportunities for research studies in various biological and environmental disciplines.  In previous years, research focus was on molecular and cellular biology, genetics, developmental biology and microbiology.  Starting in 2012, IRSP opportunities will expand to include field studies such as ecology or environmental science, and both field and laboratory opportunities in other applied life science, such as agriculture.  The program consists of one week of orientation and training in research literature conducted and supervised by ARCC faculty, followed by 10 weeks of part time research under the guidance of a University of Minnesota faculty mentor.  Students earn three semester credits upon successful completion of their research project, assessed by the presentation of a thesis research paper.

Our students participate in a wide variety of research experiences in both the lab and in the field.  Many of these students have also participated in local, regional, and national meetings where they have presented their research to professional and academic audiences.

For more information on research projects and opportunities in the Biology Department of Anoka-Ramsey Community College, please contact Kristen Genet at

The importance of spatial scale in the study of biodiversity - an Independent Research Summer Program study conducted by Hannah Kruse.

Research conducted by David Tilman at the University of Minnesota and others  demonstrated that total system function of a prairie community, measured as productivity, nutrient cycling, resistance to invasion, and resilience following disturbance, increases as each new species is added to the community, however, at some level of species richness the community became saturated and its productivity no longer increased.   In the previous studies relatively small plot sizes were used and so the hypothesis tested in this study was that the species richness-productivity relationship may be affected by the size of the plots used in these studies.   The prediction in this study was that as plot size increases, productivity saturates at a higher level of biodiversity.  Research was conducted at the University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve in the summer of 2012

Research Opportunities

Applied Structural Genomics

Undergraduate Research in Molecular Biology is a course that applies the basic concepts of biotechnology to real-life research problems. Students  utilize the equipment and procedures of a typical biotechnology laboratory including aseptic technique, precision pipetting, agarose gel electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE separation of proteins, polymerase chain reaction, transformation, and cloning. Overall goals of the research project include identification of genes of interest, in vitro amplification of genes, in vivo cloning, gene expression and analysis of gene products (proteins). Students keep laboratory notebooks, will do both laboratory and library-type research, and will present research to the class.

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Research Examples

1. Service-Learning Field Research: Raptor Surveys (Spring 2007 and Spring 2009)

2. Biofuels  (2010-ongoing)

3. Students in Genetics (BIOL 2202) were involved in sequencing a plant housekeeping gene for a glycolysis enzyme (GAP-C) in MN native plants.  The protocols involved DNA extraction, isolation and cloning of gene; and submitting gene for sequencing.  This project continues both in the context of our biology courses and as an independent research/study option. (2010-ongoing)

4. Molecular Biology: Applied Structural Genomics (2010-ongoing)

5. ARCC has partnered with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in their Citizen Lake Monitoring Program and Citizen Stream Monitoring Program.   (2012-ongoing)

6. ARCC became part of the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) by participating in theTurtlePop project.   (2012-ongoing)


Vision and Change Implementation


Integrate Core Concepts and Competencies throughout the Curriculum

  • Introduce the scientific process to students early, and integrate it into all undergraduate biology courses

  • Relate abstract concepts in biology to real ­world examples on a regular basis, and make biology content relevant by presenting problems in a real ­life context 

  • Stimulate the curiosity students have for learning about the natural world

  • Demonstrate both the passion scientists have for their discipline and their delight in sharing their understanding of the world with students


Focus on Student ­Centered Learning

  • Engage students as active participants, not passive recipients, in all undergraduate biology courses

  • Use multiple modes of instruction in addition to the traditional lecture

  • Introduce research experiences as an integral component of biology education for all students, regardless of their major

  • Integrate multiple forms of assessment to track student learning


Promote a Campus wide Commitment to Change

  • Mobilize all stakeholders, from students to administrators, to commit to improving the quality of undergraduate biology education

  • Support the development of a true community of scholars dedicated to advancing the life sciences and the science of teaching

  • Advocate for increased status, recognition, and rewards for innovation in teaching, student success, and other educational outcome


Engage the Biology Community in the Implementation of Change

  • Promote more concept­ oriented undergraduate biology courses, and help all students learn how to integrate facts into larger conceptual contexts 

  • Provide all biology faculty with access to the teaching and learning research referenced throughout this report, and encourage its application when developing courses 

  • Create active ­learning environments for all students, even those in first ­year biology courses

High Impact Practices Implementation

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Undergraduate Research

Service Learning, Community-Based Learning

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