Use of a web-based delphi for identifying critical components of a professional science master's program in biotechnology

by Kantz, Jeannine Wells

Abstract (Summary)
The primary purpose of this research was to develop a model for a

professional science master?s program combining biotechnology and business.

The objectives were to identify stakeholder preferences for various dimensions

of a professional science master?s program combining biotechnology and

business and to identify differences in priorities between subgroups. A

secondary purpose was to examine user preferences between Web-based and

traditional methods of conducting a Delphi study and the panelist?s impressions

of its usefulness for program development.

Prior to the first round, demographic data were collected on panelists

regarding their gender, age, years experience in their current field, position title

and education levels. Round 1 started with eight open-ended questions

designed to investigate (a) learning objectives, (b) internships, (c) thesis vs. nonthesis

degrees, (d) program focus (e) possible entry level positions, (f) roles for

the industry advisory board, (g) recommended hours of hands-on experience

and (h) other issues of importance. The final round ended with three questions

to assess the panelists? perception of the usefulness of the Delphi for program

development in higher education. Twenty-four panelists started Round 1 and

participation in subsequent rounds varied from 17 in Round 2 to 11 in Round 4.

Education level varied and included all levels of education in science and


Issues emerged early in the study regarding development of different

program tracks and the program goals, which were clarified in subsequent

rounds. Significant differences occurred between industry and academic

subgroups for two tracks, six skills designated for tracks, method of evaluating

the internship, and entry-level positions appropriate for new graduates. When

analyzed by level of confidence (high confidence vs. low confidence), significant

differences occurred for (a) the number of semesters of hands-on experience

students should have upon graduation, (b) skills recommended for core

curriculum, (c) skills recommended for tracks, (d) compensation level and (e)

entry level positions for new graduates. Perceived usefulness of the Delphi for

program development was varied with only 10 panelists responding--five in

favor, three undecided, and two against.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Murphy, Timothy; Funkhouser, Edward; Guarino, Linda; Cummings, Scott

School:Texas A&M University

School Location:USA - Texas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:science education graduate biotechnology professional master s


Date of Publication:12/01/2004

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