Newly Organized Department Features Major in Health Science
Responding to national and regional employment trends in the fields of health and medicine, Aquinas College will begin offering a major in Health Science to support the college’s mission to provide a liberal arts education with a career orientation.
The new Health Science major is part of the renamed Biology and Health Sciences Department (formerly the Biology Department). Students take the liberal arts core along with Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry and Mathematics courses tailored to equip them for postgraduate training in allied health fields like Physician Assistant (PA), Physical Therapy (PT), podiatry, and public health. As a part of our commitment to the sciences, Aquinas College has embarked on a campaign that includes a $32 million renovation and expansion of our science facilities.
Science expansion will pave the way for new programs, innovative research, and student engagement to prepare scientists, engineers, and mathematicians who will contribute to the regional STEM workforce, education initiatives and research.
- Aquinas biology and health science graduates enjoy acceptance rates of nearly 100% into physician assistant, physical therapy, and dental programs
- Aquinas biology and health science graduates have a medical school acceptance rate approximately 20% above the national average.
- Since 2000, nearly one-third of Aquinas biology and health science graduates have gone on to earn doctoral degrees in biology or health-related fields (human medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, etc…).
- An additional 14% of Aquinas biology and health science graduates have gone on to earn a masters degree in similar fields (physician assistant, public health, health administration, etc…) since 2000.
- For five years running, Aquinas College biology graduates have scored above the 90th percentile on the Major Field Test, a standardized test of biology knowledge administered by more than 300 colleges & universities across the U.S.
- Up to two qualified Aquinas students per year can be admitted to Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine through an Early Assurance Partnership between the two institutions.
- Qualified Aquinas biology and health science majors can receive elective biology credits for laboratory research conducted at the Van Andel Institute.
- At least two faculty members from the Aquinas College Biology and Health Sciences Department participate in the Mohler-Thompson Summer Scholars program each summer, offering stipends for qualified students who engage in independent research.
- Each course and lab taken by an Aquinas biology and health science major is taught by a full-time faculty member who has earned a Ph.D. in her/his field of expertise.
- Alumni of the biology and health sciences program have earned graduate or professional degrees at prestigious universities like Brown, Cornell, Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame and U. C. Berkeley and Harvard.
The Aquinas College Biology and Health Science Department has been selected to join the Small World Initiative (SWI), a Yale-University-based non-profit organization that aims to teach students scientific methods while simultaneously crowdsourcing the discovery of novel antibiotics. “Our biology faculty is excited to be a part of this innovative program which will give our students more opportunities to engage in authentic research,” said Jennifer Hess, Ph.D., associate professor of biology. “We’re looking forward to fully integrating the SWI curriculum into the new health sciences curriculum currently being developed within our department.”
The Aquinas College Biology Department has been selected to join the Small World Initiative (SWI), a Yale-University-based non-profit organization that aims to teach students scientific methods while simultaneously crowdsourcing the discovery of novel antibiotics. This selection will provide funding for training and materials to incorporate the SWI curriculum into the department’s introductory biology courses in the fall 2017 semester.
Within Michigan, Aquinas College is currently the second higher education institution (Eastern Michigan University is the other) and the only small liberal arts college to be welcomed as a part of the SWI consortium. The program was inspired in response to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report in 2012 which called for the “(replacement) of standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses.” SWI is designed to engage students in research that addresses a real-world crisis---the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics.
“Our biology faculty is excited to be a part of this innovative program which will give our students more opportunities to engage in authentic research,” said Jennifer Hess, Ph.D., associate professor of biology. “We’re looking forward to fully integrating the SWI curriculum into the new health sciences curriculum currently being developed within our biology department.” SWI aims to “address the global concern for antibiotic resistance, to discover candidates for novel natural product antibiotic, and to explore the untapped microbial and biochemical diversity of soil.” Using this curriculum, all introductory Aquinas biology students, including many first-year students, will have opportunities to engage in applied research and to directly expand current scientific knowledge in a medically important field.
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