CAA approves new biology course


Ashanti Thomas

Billy Hung, biological sciences professor, gives his thoughts and point of view on a philosophy proposal brought to the Council of Academic Affairs.

Luke Taylor, News Editor

The Council of Academic Affairs approved a new “Human Biology” course to replace the existing “Human Physiology” course.

The “Human Physiology” class was not recognized by the Illinois Articulation Initiative, which aims to facilitate credit transfers between higher education institutions.

Credit concerns were a main focus of CAA’s conversation around this change because they wanted to make sure that students who took “Human Physiology” would still have the correct requirements fulfilled for graduation.

If a student took “Human Physiology” and got a low grade, they would’ve been required to retake it and get at least a C to graduate in a few different majors. “Human Biology” could replace that requirement, but the effect on their GPA was still a concern.

Gary Bulla, the chair of the biology department, was at the meeting to explain the proposal for the new course. He explained that the department would have students send a request to the registrar’s office to replace the low grade in the old course with whatever they got when taking the new course.

The council made some edits to the course proposal, clarifying some language about how the credits would work, before approving the proposal. The course will include both a class and lab portion.

CAA also discussed making changes to how online courses will be displayed when students are registering for classes or looking at their class schedules online.

Currently, online classes are just labeled “Online” without a distinction of whether they are synchronous or asynchronous.

Synchronous courses have scheduled times for class meetings, usually held over Zoom or another video call service. Asynchronous courses may have optional meetings or videos of the instructor teaching, but students aren’t required to be in calls at certain times.

This distinction is important when choosing a class schedule for the semester, and students voiced concerns about not being able to tell the difference.

In April 2021, the council approved a proposal to change the definitions for online synchronous and online asynchronous courses to better distinguish between the two.

Many students have been taking online courses for the first time since the pandemic started, so this concern came up more than before.

Soon, instructors will need to edit their online course descriptions and check a box to select the correct course type so that students will have a better understanding of the classes they choose.

The council also approved the addition of a certificate in applied ethics as an option for students who want to focus on that area.

Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].