New Biology Major Looking Strong

KENT CROOKSTON

Professors Anderson and Gubler with students Erik Smith, Emily Coleman and Jessica Allred
Center director Anderson and admin. assistant Gubler (front) are supported by students Erik Smith, Emily Coleman, and Jessica Allred.
The pace of discovery in biology has accelerated dramatically in the past decade. To stay on top of the knowledge explosion the BioAg faculty developed a new program three years ago with a shared curriculum that features timeproven courses without redundancy. “While some courses were simply renamed, others were created and others deleted,” said John Bell, Associate Dean. “The result is a core of eight biology courses totaling 18 semester credits that most College students can use to fill major and general education requirements.”

As of Winter 2006, the College had 2,565 students, and of those 744 (29%) were majors in the new Biology Program. “We offer a general preparation in biology that meets the expectations of the best graduate and professional programs,” said Shauna Anderson, Director of the Program Office. “The new program allows flexibility during the first two years without penalty; students have time to explore different disciplines before they focus on a specific major.”

“Each class is taught by an expert in his or her field, regardless of departmental affiliation,” said Jeanne Gubler, Administrative Assistant in the Biology Office. “Students appreciate that their classes are taught by the best professors possible.”

The Biology Major requires additional courses in math, physics, and chemistry, plus plant-, animal-, microbial- or human-physiology options. It culminates with 12 hours of upperdivision courses and/or mentored research, an internship, or a senior thesis. “We encourage students to get some beyond-the-classroom experience,” said Gubler. “It often changes their lives and redirects their goals.”

 Biology Major Field Exam Comparisons







*Average score of 359 students taking exam Dec 04
(first time offered), & Apr, Nov, and Dec 05.

**Average score of 20 comparable universities
including Arizona State, Baylor, & U. of Wisconsin.
 


On the national Education Testing System Biology Field Exam, students in the College are scoring above the average of students at other universities. Half of the BYU students who took the test in 2005 were majors in the new program. “We believe our students do well because of the quality of instruction in our courses,” said Anderson. “But we also recognize that we have exceptional students!”