The Science Department has developed three new science courses and labs to offer to non-science majors. These courses are Intro to Environmental Science, Intro to Data Science, and General Geology.
Over the last year, Interim Associate Dean of Stem Dr. Tara Sirvent has worked closely with the Science Department and the school to develop these new courses for students so they can take courses they are more interested in. Although the Empirical World course that has already been offered is simple in nature, there has been a growing number of student complaints about the course, according to Sirvent.
“The [Empirical World] class was created in 1998 and was meant to combine all the sciences into one subject. But it does so in a way that is very elementary, and only covers surface level content that is not very interesting or challenging to the students,” Sirvent said.
Professor Jorge Reyes, who currently teaches the Empirical World lecture and lab, has done a great amount of work to make the class more interesting and engaging to students by having guest speakers come with different animals and exhibits, according to Sirvent. However, there has still been a demand from students to have more options.
In the Intro to Data course, students will learn how to look at data and package it in a way that allows it to be displayed to be easily understood. Sirvent hopes that this course can continue to be offered every fall semester as a precursor to the Intro to Computer Science course that will be offered in the spring. The Computer Science course will allow students to learn about computer programming and coding languages.
The General Geology course will be offered in the fall semester and will be followed by the Intro to Environmental Science course in the spring. These classes have already begun being offered this semester and have received a great amount of positive feedback from students, according to Sirvent.
The goal of developing these courses was to also make sure there is more applicability to the liberal arts, where students can take what they are learning in these science courses and apply it to what it is they are studying within their majors.
“For me, it is a calling about exposing students to a discipline that I love–where God’s creation is present everywhere I go. This is an opportunity to talk to God and through His spirit to see His example of the love and care He has for you through His creation,” Sirvent said.
In addition to receiving positive feedback from students, there has been positive feedback from academic advisors as well, according to Sirvent. With more science courses available on the schedule for students to take there is less conflict in creating class schedules since every student is not trying to get into the same science lecture and lab.