News Feature

Bio Basics

New course to help students transition to college-level science

Just as the Beatles revolutionized the music world in the 1960s, beetles of a different sort will soon make a big difference for the next generation of Bridgewater State University biology majors. 

The insects will be used in labs for a forthcoming introductory course designed to ensure that students are on the same page when it comes to knowing the basics of the discipline.

“A lot of our students arrive at Bridgewater with very diverse skillsets,” said Dr. Heather Marella, an associate biological sciences professor. “A lot of them may or may not have been exposed to the equipment and the technical side of biology we expect our students to be comfortable with.” 

The course will introduce students to biology faculty, the major itself, and career opportunities. Lectures and labs will ensure they have the skills to succeed, whether they’re coming from high school, another college or university, or a different program at BSU.A student works with beetles. 

Faculty are developing the class and a student handbook thanks to a grant from BSU for academic innovation. The handbook will cover the major and faculty as well as common lab equipment and scientific information. That will serve students well even after they graduate. 

New videos highlighting faculty are also in production.

The grant allows Department of Biological Sciences’ faculty to dedicate time to developing the course and handbook. It also paid for an incubator for the beetles. 

They hope the initiative will increase retention rates, particularly among transfer students.

“That was extra motivation to say we need this to bring them into the fold and make sure they don’t feel lost or overwhelmed,” said Dr. Caitlin Fisher-Reid, an assistant professor. 

The new course is expected to launch as a pilot in spring 2020.

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