Curriculum Corner: Benefiting Biology

Curriculum Corner: Benefiting Biology

by Jackie Brittingham

Students are asking about the impact of the Engaged Citizenship Curriculum (ECC) and how the change in course structure will impact their preparation for graduate school and professional programs. In general, the preparation will be better, and here is how that will work for pre-med students.

 In the new system, students will be better prepared because now there are no limits on how many science courses they can take. They will also have more opportunities to earn a major or minor in other areas. Students who are planning on applying to medical or graduate school can still take two semesters of organic chemistry and two semesters of physics to prepare for their entrance exams (MCAT), just like they do now.

The Capstone Experience in Biology emphasizes the research and internships that the medical school admissions committees look for, so all students have this advantage now instead of just a select few. Science students will take the same number of courses in the new structure as they did before, usually four classes a semester: two lab-science courses and two other courses.

Additionally, Simpson’s continued emphasis on study abroad opportunities makes a big difference in the life stories of our students preparing to apply to medical school. For a great example see Allison Boardman’s profile story on the biology department website.

The emphasis on Embedded Skills in the ECC allows our students to intentionally learn how to think critically, express ideas effectively, work in groups, and explore enduring questions about ourselves and the world and so on. All of these skills will be a major asset to them as they make the transition to graduate study.

The change in the minimum requirements for the majors does not change the opportunities for additional study. In fact, the change gives faculty more one-on-one time to mentor and advise our students to keep them on the right path to their dreams.

Our alumni are in competitive residency programs in radiology, surgery, orthopedic surgery, OB/GYN, internal medicine and more. The Simpson Experience gave our students a strong foundation for their medical careers. The ECC will provide students and faculty with new opportunities, and I hope that everyone will take the time to view it from this perspective.