Anderson University’s biology department is already set apart because of its emphasis on the integration of faith and science, as well as hands-on experience and relationships with professors. Now the department can claim one more distinctive as biology majors recently placed in the 95th percentile on a national exam for students majoring in biology.
The department does an assessment each year that includes a major field exam. Students take the test after they have completed Genetics, which is the last course in the core of required biology courses.
According to Educational Testing Service, which administers the exam, “the major field test is designed to measure the critical knowledge and understanding obtained by students in a major field of study. The major field tests go beyond the measurement of factual knowledge by helping to evaluate students’ ability to analyze and solve problems, understand relationships, and interpret material from their major field of study.”
[Photo: Biology students take part in a shark dissection in the Fish Biology and Ecology class.]
Schools receive individual student results as well as the average or institutional score. The score is compared to 425 other institutions across the United States, derived from a total of more than 30,000 students who took the test.
Fifteen Anderson University students took the test — six seniors and nine juniors. The students scored in the 95th percentile among all students across the nation who took the exam.
“That means that 95 percent of those 425 other institutions were below us,” said Dr. Kimberly Lyle-Ippolito, professor of biology.
“The rigorous major has taught me some very important and rewarding lessons about the payoff of hard work,” said Schwartz. “It’s not easy to make it through the program, which is why the graduates have such a high success rate. I think that this aspect is important for the integrity of the program, as well as for preparing students for the rigors of the demanding career field that we have chosen. Since the program is relatively small, the professors know you, and help tailor your education to your career goals.”
Senior biology major Beth Barrow has also seen success at Anderson University. She attributes small class sizes and hands-on experience to her achievements.
"I have had many successes already as a result of being a part of AU’s biology department. I was able to participate in research as early as I desired,” said Barrow. “Also, a university this size allows the undergraduates to be the ones handling the equipment and running the tests.”
[Photo: Biology students present research in the Microbes and Disease class.]
Lyle-Ippolito feels AU’s biology program is unique from many other schools because of the small size, hands-on experience, challenging program, and the integration of Christian faith.
“I like the integration of faith and science, the personal relationships, and mentoring we experience,” said Lyle–Ippolito. One example she gave was when a student's mother had died, and the students and professors spent time in prayer with her.
Many factors contribute to make the Anderson University biology department what it is. From the success and satisfaction of biology students to the outstanding performance on the national field test, the department is set apart by its academic achievement, spiritual integration, and the positive student-teacher relationships.
— Jonathon Hosea is a sophomore from New Castle, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Hosea is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.