By Lily Firth
A new generation of biology professionals will soon graduate from the College, and employers are looking to hire more well-rounded candidates. In the past, this tended to put stress on students studying biology at the College, because the strict and rigorous program made it difficult to add minors, which would add more diversity to their resumés and experiences.
The College announced on Aug. 27 that a new program will launch in the spring of 2019 to accommodate the needs of students graduating with a bachelor of arts in biology. While the Board of Trustees approved the program in July, state approval is still pending.
The rigid requirements for biology majors left little room to explore other areas of study, and left many students feeling as though their resumés were
one-dimensional. The sole focus was preparation for students’ career paths after college, whether it be medical school, graduate school or other science related programs. However, with the changing climate of employers, a narrow direct academic path became a less beneficial course of action.
At an alumni panel, a variety of former students reinforced the need for a new program. Alumni from the biology department elaborated on the wide range of career opportunities that require skills learned outside the laboratory.
Keith Pecor, chair of the biology department, knew that the program needed a significant change.
“It is a very prescriptive program with limited options for students who may wish to pursue other interests or other areas within the field,” Pecor said.
For the first time, biology majors can personalize their program of study, and can add minors from any school at the College, not just the school of science. They can pick courses that will enrich their degree and help them become a more versatile employee for the future.
The new change “will offer students the opportunity to gain technical knowledge, communication skills and exposure to the ethical standards of science, while also gaining experience in areas such as education, business or the humanities,” according to the College’s website.
Students will also receive additional mentoring from professors to ensure students are taking full advantage of their new academic freedom and choose the best courses to compliment their major.
Biology majors are excited about the new direction the program is taking and the new opportunities that it will present. Madhav Patel, a senior biology major, believes that the new program will enrich future students’ education and help them in the long run.
“We need more science professionals who have a knowledge and understanding of the humanities and how they impact their career in any field they work in,” Patel said. “I think TCNJ does a good job of offering that experience through the bio major.”