(April 21, 2010)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Flexibility the key to success

Centenary College Offers New Biology Degree

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) - For years, Centenary College has traditionally offered a Bachelor of Science degree in biology for students planning on a career in the medical field, biomedical research, and other health professions. It is a very rigorous degree program that has a strong grounding not only in biology, but also the sciences that underpin and contribute to it, such as chemistry, physics and mathematics.

students in the biology lab

Now starting in the fall 2010 semester, Centenary College will also offer another degree in biology... the Bachelor of Arts.

"As a department, we are very excited to be offering the BA in biology," said Dr. Cynthia Brame, associate professor of biology and Chair of the biology department. "This degree is going to be perfect for the student who wants to go into a career that doesn't require such an extensive background in physics and chemistry. That could include health care professions such as physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapy and those interested in environmental issues. We are excited to be able to be responsive to the needs of many of our students."

Typically, a student seeking a BS degree in biology can expect to take 16 hours of chemistry, eight hours of physics, eight hours of upper-level mathematics and 34 hours of biology. According to Dr. Brame, students enrolled in the BA program will still have a strong grounding in biology, taking 32 hours, but won't have as many supportive requirements. This means that the student will only have to take eight hours of chemistry, no physics and the math requirements will be less stringent.

"This new degree program will allow greater flexibility for the student with their schedule," said Dr. Brame. "Not only will they have greater flexibility to choose biology courses that meet their future needs, but also courses in other areas, such as psychology and sociology, and pick classes for the direction they want to go."

KTBS coverage featuring interview with Dr. Cynthia Brame and student Kendall Hughes.

Behind the scenes: Centenary student Kendall Hughes talks to KTBS reporter Casey Ferrand about the new BA in biology. Kendall is planning switch to the new program in the fall.

While the bachelor of arts degree will still provide a strong background in biology, one difference students will notice is that the BA degree will require them to take a foreign language. This is part of a traditional liberal arts approach to education, said Dr. Brame.

"To appreciate other cultures, you really need to be immersed in another language," she said. "Our cultures today are integrated more and more these days and this will allow students pursuing this degree the ability to communicate, perhaps with their patients, in another language."

Professor of French, Dr. Dana Kress agrees with the language requirement, saying that we live in a world that is increasingly interconnected, but that can seem very foreign to us. "This is natural when you consider the fact that just 20 percent of the world's population speaks English," he said. "The coming years will see increasing opportunities for Americans who are able to interact with 80 percent of the world who does not know English. People who only speak English will simply not be able to compete on a world stage."

Although the degree offering is new this fall, the faculty in the biology department has been discussing the program for more than a year. The best part of this new program according to biology professor Dr. Beth Leuck is that it allows greater flexibility for students interested in the biological sciences and the changing job market in health care.

"This is a positive adaption to the burgeoning interest in health sciences around the country," she said. "With the potential changes to how health care is delivered, there will be a need for more people in this career field. We see this as a program that is adapting to the reality of the job market without compromising anything we feel strongly about in the liberal arts and our own standards of preparing students."