Recruiting for BIMS

by gwilson on Oct.29, 2015, under Program

pyp_crewOne thing academic programs share with athletic programs is the need to establish and cultivate a pipeline of new talent into the system.  One day our current students will graduate, and without new faces to take their place our programs would cease to exist. Like any team sport, being successful all boils down to numbers – recruiting great talent in quality and quantity.  In the months to come, BIMS will once again make its pitch to bring in a large, talented class of bright and eager students intent on being academic superstars and thus prepare for their future careers in health professions and other fields.

One great recruiting opportunity for BIMS is in the McMurry University Honors Program.  Around 30% of all Honors theses in the past few years have been written by students from one major – Biomedical Science.  The other 45+ majors have contributed the rest.  So, we eagerly anticipate Honors Days at McMurry.  These events introduce prospective students to McMurry, our Honors program, and many Honors students.  There are faculty interviews and an essay, all of which factor into awarding of very sizable merit-based scholarships.  Honors Days this year will fall on November 14, November 21, and December 12, and we will be there to describe our program.

We are very excited about Science Saturday, which is coming on January 23, 2016.  All prospective students with an interest in a science major will be invited to campus for the day, to hear about our programs, participate in hand-on activities related to our programs, and otherwise get a feel for the warm, welcoming environment to be found on campus.  BIMS will contribute at least two activities to the morning:  an epidemiology simulation/contest, and a DNA extraction and analysis activity.  Students will be able to choose which sessions they can participate in, up to three during the morning session.  Of course, ours will be the best. :)

So we hope you can make it to one of these events!  If not, you can always schedule your own personal visit by calling 325-793-3800 and asking for Admissions.  We look forward to getting to know you and your family and helping chart out your college career!

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New Semester, New Start

by gwilson on Aug.28, 2015, under Program

IMG_0362The start of the Fall Semester and the 2015-16 school year brings with it a new start in the biology programs at McMurry. New Biomedical Science majors join those from Biology and Life Sciences in taking the new Biology Core – common classes that insure a common experience covering the breadth of biology.  This fall, the first new course is being taught – General Biology I – and its follow-up (ingeniously called General Biology II) will follow in the spring.

Lots of schools have a similar two-semester freshman biology sequence.  Like many, ours is cells, processes and genetics in the first and multicellular organisms, diversity of life and ecology in the second.  However, we hope that the lab for General Biology I will set our program apart from most.  The lab, designed by Dr. Benoit, is based on a few “canned” labs interspersed among several multi-week projects covering key concepts and teaching skills central to future biology courses.  There will be a project creating and studying Winogradsky columns that will emphasize metabolism and nutrient cycling and ecological succession.  Another will use yeast to demonstrate carbon dioxide generation in fermentation and alginate beads to follow its consumption in photosynthesis.  A third will require groups of students to design experiments with yeast to study fermentation changes with variations in substrates or environmental conditions.  And mitosis and meiosis will be followed using yeast mating experiments.  Not exactly an approach taken by most colleges for teaching first semester college students.  Our intent is to give them an engaging course unlike anything taken before, one that teaches principles and how science is done and provides experience putting skills learned into action to provide answers to biological questions.

We should be posting stories from this course here and on our Facebook page ( during the semester.  Hope you will follow our journey!

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Curricular Changes Are A-Comin’

by gwilson on Feb.15, 2015, under Program

Dr. Wilson 002There is a difference between “good” programs and “great” programs that is revealed by how they approach criticism.  Good programs may fight the news or dispute the news; great programs embrace the news and use it to their advantage.

BIMS is a great program.  Just 6 years ago, the Biology Department launched its three new B.S. programs – the brand new Biomedical Science (BIMS) degree, the brand new Life Sciences degree, and the revised Biology degree.  Each year since, we have participated in authentic and investigative annual assessment to identify our weaknesses and form strategies to make improvements.  Our willingness to find fault and criticize our own efforts led us to ask “How can we improve our performance for the sake of our students?”  Just over a year ago, the accumulation of evidence told us we needed a more extensive and universal Biology Core curriculum for all three majors.  And we needed to break down the barriers that prevented our BIMS majors from taking advanced BIOL courses, and vice versa.

We have just received approval for our new curriculum.  Here is a look at the BIMS of the future, starting Fall 2015:

Biology Core (courses taken by all BIOL, BIMS, and LSCI majors)

  • BIOL 1306/1106.  General Biology I/Gen Bio I Lab.  Molecules to cells.
  • BIOL 1307/1107.  General Biology II/Gen Biol II Lab.  Animals and plants to ecosystems and evolution.
  • BIOL 3460. Genetics
  • BIOL 3110.  Junior Seminar.  Immersion in scientific literature to prepare for senior capstones.  Career counseling and entrance exam preparation.  Participation in locally-produced diagnostic Junior Exams to help us assess effectiveness of our courses during their first two years.
  • Senior capstone experiences.  Can be either BIOL 4201/4101 Senior Capstone Experience/Scientific Literature (research with a faculty member, scientific writing to report results), BIOL 4388 Biology Internship (arranged internship with practitioners in science or health professions), or BIOL 4496/4397  Honors Research/Honors Thesis (for those pursuing the added distinction and expectations of Honors research and thesis).

BIMS Program Required Courses

  • BIMS 3350 Cell Biology.  Return of a course focused on eukaryotic cell anatomy and physiology.
  • BIMS 3410 Microbiology.
  • BIMS 3430 Human Physiology.
  • BIMS 4350/4150 Molecular Biology/Molecular Biology Lab.

BIMS Elective courses.

  • Ten hours of elective courses from advanced BIMS and BIOL course offerings.

The Biology and Life Sciences programs have also undergone some tweaks that promise to make them even more effective than their current versions.  We are excited about how these changes position us (and our students) for the future!

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