The biology department is soon to see changes within the catalog for that degree. It’s been said that certain 200-level courses, such as botany and zoology, will now be counted as 300-level courses instead, and will no longer be in the general biology degree requirements. Dr. Dimaculangan, chair of the biology department explained the new changes.
“One of the main things is the introductory courses and the requirements for students. We’re going to change it to a two-semester introductory course sequence instead of three,” Dimaculangan said. Currently, biology majors who are studying for a general biology degree are required to take a departmental seminar (BIOL 202), an introductory biology lab (BIOL 203), biology lecture (BIOL 204), botany (BIOL 205), zoology (BIOL 206), an independent study/ research (BIOL 300), and a capstone course (BIOL 480).
“The botany and zoology are going to be raised to higher level within the next year or two, but we’re already piloting the new courses this semester. That’s going to end up being a Principles of Cellular and Molecular biology course (BIOL 220/222) and a Principles of Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity course (BIOL 221/223). That actually lines up better with many other schools in the country. The other classes will still remain as higher level classes, but this will help the students advance through the program efficiently. Another change that’s going to happen is dealing with Biology 300,” Dimaculangan said.
Currently, students must have all of their introductory courses completed as prerequisites before they can take the BIOL 300 course. Similarly, biology students can’t advance to higher level courses unless they obtain a C grade or higher in BIOL 300.
“It’ll be easier for people to come in and transfer courses in, but the other thing is we’ve been looking at our curriculum for a long time trying to figure out how to improve it. We’re always making small minor changes in the catalogs, but this is one of the first major changes to the catalog in a little over 20 years. [Over that time,] one of the things that we think students are a little bit weaker in is in genetics. Students will now be taking one less intro course, but we’re going to require them to take a genetics course, with either a lab or no lab,” Dimaculangan said.
“Now, to try to help students progression wise, we still are going to require 300, but we’re going to allow students to take other 300-level classes at the same time as 300. So, 300 will still be an absolute requirement for all of the 400 and 500-level courses, but we were worried because there are some students who get stuck trying to get to 300 so that they’re able to take an upper level class. So, now they’ll be able to take, for instance, 300 and microbiology or 300 and genetics at the same time. It wouldn’t affect students who are already in the program, especially if they’ve already took all of their intro level courses. The only way it would affect upperclassmen if is they are students who may still be in BIOL 300,” Dimaculangan said.
These changes will be in full affect by the fall semester of 2019. Therefore, any new freshman or transfer coming in at that point will be starting off in that new catalog.