Faculty approve Bachelor of Science degrees for microbiology and geology

By Sara Hollabaugh, Online Editor

Faculty approved microbiology and geology for a Bachelor of Science degree during the faculty meeting held on April 17.

These additions come a month after the approval of physics and astronomy.

“The Bachelor of Science degree was approved by our accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission,” President Rock Jones said.

Jones added that the planning of the degrees was spearheaded by Dale Swartzentruber, associate provost for institutional research and academic budget management; Barbara Andereck, assistant provost for assessment and accreditation; and Craig Jackson, who chairs the Academic Policy Committee.

Jones said Swartzentruber worked on the administrative elements, Andereck arranged the application for accreditation and Jackson and his committee reviewed the proposals for the entire faculty to discuss.

Andereck said she, aside from compiling the proposals, was part of conversations in the departments.

“[The discussions] last fall … led to the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in physics and astrophysics,” Andereck said.

Andereck said the idea to apply for Bachelor of Science in the speci c majors stemmed from alumni, prospective students and families.

“Some organizations (employers, the government, graduate schools) view B.S. and B.A. degrees differently,” Andereck said.

Andereck added that offering both degrees gives students an advantage.

“The number of science and math courses required for the B.S. is higher than for the B.A.,” Andereck said. “So people familiar with that scenario sometimes assume that a B.A. from a liberal arts institution is not as rigorous [or] science focused as a B.S. from another institution.”

But Andereck said the assumption is not correct.

“We cannot have conversations with all people who hold this view,” Andereck said. “So to benefit our students and perhaps be more attractive to prospective students, we decided we should offer a B.S. option.”

For the physics and astrophysics majors specifically, Andereck said the B.S, degree “allows us to distinguish paths that lead to graduate school or professional work in the field versus paths that will rely less heavily on the content in the major.”