Tag: Thomas Benoit
By popular demand, BIMS is adding a microbiology course for non-majors. In actuality, this is not a new course at all, but one that was taught for several years and then dropped because of staffing issues – there was nobody available to teach the course. Now, with Dr. Wilson returning to full-time teaching after years as the Natural & Computational Sciences dean, that problem is a thing of the past. BIOL 3403 Foundations of Microbiology returns to the catalog and will be taught in spring semesters and during summers.
BIOL 3403 is geared toward health professions where an understanding of basic microbiology and its impact on health is essential. Its counterpart for BIMS majors – BIOL 3410 – provides a greater exposure to the biology and physiology and genetics of microbes. Mineral cycling and the biology of the Archaebacteria (methane production, growth at extremes of temperature and salinity) and Cyanobacteria (photosynthesis) are clearly important to a biology major – not nearly so to someone who is pursuing an allied health career. BIOL 3403 is likely to have a greater emphasis on microbes posing health risks and how they can be avoided or destroyed in a healthcare setting. Antibiotics, immunity, and safe water and food are more likely to dominate discussions on a regular basis. By providing direction and focus to the two courses, the non-majors course can be effectively taught without the extensive pre-requisites in previous biology and chemistry courses expected for the majors course. The BIMS program sees the two courses as a welcomed response to the needs of two very different populations of students and allows the instructors to tailor their courses to the needs and interests of each. At this time, it looks like Dr. Wilson will teach BIOL 3410 and Dr. Benoit will teach the new course, BIOL 3403.
Just another example of the responsiveness of BIMS to the needs of students!
It’s one thing to plan new spaces, but another thing to transition from where you are to where you will be. Countless hours have gone into designing spaces, getting quotes on equipment, and thinking through efficient and effective use of space. Now that such things are largely under control and winding down, attention is shifting toward moving out of the spaces so the work can begin.
There is a very narrow window of time during which everything has to be done. We end classes the first week of May and the fall semester starts mid-August. So anything we can do to hasten the start of construction is important. We are already in the process of ordering cabinetry and equipment. May should be the time for demolition and asbestos abatement. Planning is underway for storage of equipment and supplies from the affected spaces during the process. Our miniaturized version of D-Day planning is going well.
To help provide as much time as possible for construction, we have been given the green light to end our lab courses early. My microbiology course will finish a week or so early, and is actually done in the lab. We will finish the semester using VirtualUnknown(TM) Microbiology to accomplish much of the same work in simulation that we would normally do in the wetlab. Dr. Benoit is similarly finding ways to complete his courses’ use of the Micro lab ahead of schedule. Edvotek kits for his immunology course have been a lifesaver! Dr. D’s work in the genetics/molecular lab will likewise wind down in the next couple of weeks, and her headstart on packing nonessentials is well underway.
Like trapeze artists using perfect timing to leave one swing in order to catch the other, we are doing all we can to help the construction folks move in and complete their work easily and quickly. Then, we hope to be able to complete the maneuver by moving back in during August.
Happy 2010! May this be the best year ever in all your pursuits. May you grow intellectually, socially, spiritually, and in maturity – all while experiencing outstanding health! Make 2009 envious and intimidate 2011 by how 2010 brought great memories and great investments into your body, mind, and spirit!
At McMurry, the BIMS faculty are ready to do our part to help this wish for the coming year come true. Hard to believe this is only the second New Years observed by the BIMS program. Dr. Benoit, Dr. DiFrancesca, Dr. Sharp, Dr. Pyenta, and I all expect the maturing of the BIMS program during 2010 to bring greater courses, greater research projects in your labs, greater opportunities for you, and closer relationships among students and faculty as we grow into the vision upon which this program was built. New courses, fine tuning of the curriculum, new relationships with biotech firms and professional schools all will provide new opportunities, experiences, and skills to fuel that growth.
Your role? Don’t bypass an opportunity to learn, to experience, to grow. Your benefit from the program is in direct proportion to your immersion in the program. So dive in, and enjoy!