Science cuts actually not as bad as they seem

Re: “Cuts hit sciences,” March 24

While the article detailing cuts to science courses was truthful, it is perhaps not fully informed.

I understand the sentiments that the interviewed student expressed; however, I would like to provide further insight into this matter.

Yes, 25 courses have been cut from the biology department for the upcoming year; however, the majority of courses removed were ones that had not been run in some time, as the current faculty structure did not easily facilitate their inclusion.

In place of the removed courses are 16 new or revamped course offerings, designed to maximize the diverse skill set of the faculty and the use of laboratory time and resources.

Also true, first-year labs are being directed towards bi-weekly tutorials.

This will however still provide students with hands-on learning opportunities in the form of tutorial exercises and simulation programs.

I will also provide an avenue for independent and group-based learning in a small classroom setting.

Through a decrease in teaching hours at the first-year level, the department has been able to reallocate money into providing a greater diversity of senior classes.

In the current school year, the biology department offered the equivalent of 33 0.5 credit courses (19 with labs).

The 2010-2011 biology offerings have actually increased to 35 senior courses, 21 with lab components.

Thus, despite budget cuts the dedicated members of the biology department have been able to even further improve and expand the services and experiences that they offer to undergraduate students.

–Jessie Cunningham

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