Welcome, alumni and friends, to these pages which are filled with news from a special place and a special people. That you are receiving a copy of this, the first Bio Ag Newsletter, means that you are important to us. You are either a graduate of the College, or a very special friend. I assure you that there is good reading within. I encourage you to take a little time to update yourself. Discover what a few of your fellow graduates have been doing. Check out what 21st Century Biology is like at BYU.
We want you to know that your college is doing well. We have recently experienced a little evolution. On the surface we look quite different; at our core we have maintained the long-standing purpose and values that you experienced while you were here.
In the winter and spring of 2001 a faculty committee gathered to consider whether and how the College might re-invent itself to better meet the needs of students. Their charge was "students first," and "raise the bar." Our goal was to be the fi rst place people thought of when seeking premium undergraduate students in biology (we were already there in some cases; now it's expanding). The Re-invention Committee recommended some dramatic changes that were implemented starting January of 2002. None of our original six departments remained intact (see chart).
We have had almost three years to observe and experience the transition. Of course there were bumps in the path, that's standard for any group that redesigns itself. And there were some losses. We cut our curriculum by one third. We reduced our number of majors by a half. We established a new biology major that serves as a college core (as of this fall there are 850 students in this major; we are 2,800 students overall). These students can transfer to most other majors within the College as late as the beginning of their junior year and not lose anything.
Our overall report is that we're thriving, and that a wonderful spirit of enthusiasm and optimism presides. The cross-pollination has resulted in new vigor.
We welcome your comments and updates. Perhaps you know something or someone that we should feature in our next issue. We'd love to hear from you.