Agriculture college growing new curriculum

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    By Jeff Hofmann

    The decision to restructure the College of Biology and Agriculture comes as a surprise, students within the college said.

    Administrators said the lack of publicity is due to the gradual nature of the changes and not a desire to keep secrets from students.

    “The changes that will affect the students won”t come together for a couple of years,” said John Bell, associate dean of the college.

    The proposed changes include consolidating the existing six departments into five, as well as reducing the number of courses offered by more than two-thirds.

    Curriculum changes will not go into effect until at least Fall 2003, Bell said. New curriculum will probably be announced fall 2002 and there will be much more publicity given to the changes at that time, he said.

    Most students were surprised but pleased when informed of the restructuring.

    “They haven”t told us anything about it,” said Chalyce Bohne, 22, a senior from Walnut Creek, Calif., majoring in biology composite teaching. “But if it will make things more personal, that”s great. You get lost in those huge zoology classes.”

    Reducing class sizes was one of the main goals of the restructuring process, said Kent Crookston, dean of the College of Biology and Agriculture.

    “The average student is too shy to ask questions in big classes,” said Heather Christianson, 22, a senior from San Jose, Calif., majoring in dietetics. “With smaller classes, all students will be more likely to get the help they need.”

    Christianson said she had heard by word of mouth that changes were being made but did not know any details. Although the college has not been widely advertising the upcoming changes, they have not been hiding things either.

    The changes were announced at orientation to new students, who will be affected more by the changes than those already in the college, Crookston said.

    The college student council has also provided input during the reinvention process and will help communicate changes to students when they occur, Bell said.

    Although students don”t know all the details of the changes yet, they seem appreciative of the faculty”s efforts to make improvements on their behalf.

    “I think it”s a good idea,” said Ashley Hawkins, 21, a senior from Bakersfield, Calif., majoring in biology composite teaching. “They need to make sure every class is more applicable to the fields students are entering.”

    Danielle Kilton, a junior from Provo majoring in food science, agrees.

    “They want the students to have better opportunities in the workforce, and I think these changes will do that,” Kilton, 21, said.

    The restructuring plan is expected to receive approval from the Board of Trustees, Crookston said.

    “The creative flux has been energizing, but at the same time we”re getting tired,” Crookston said. “It”s like remodeling a house; you get halfway through and you wonder if the mess is worth it.”

    “It”s been an adventure,” he said.

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