by Edna Chukwuemeka
Rumors have been surfacing about changes to the Millsaps College comprehensive exam and a possible merging of the Biology and Neuroscience departments. Investigations into these rumors show that they are no more than just wishful thinking.
Both the Office of Academic Affairs and Core Curriculum Review Committee Director Holly Sypniewski have no reports to validate the claim of terminating or lessening the demands of comprehensive exams. “Comps are done by department,” Sypniewski says. Current information regarding comprehensive exams can be found in the Millsaps College Catalog.
Changes to the curriculum, like the altering of comps or core classes are not effortlessly arranged. “A committee has been working for about a year, reviewing the current core curriculum,” Sypniewski offers. The committee is in place under the strategic plan to review the core curriculum which is presently at it’s 20- year benchmark. Reviewing core curriculums after this is a practice that most academic institutions engage in as they deem necessary.
The biology and neuroscience departmental combining is also no more than unsubstantiated buzz. Kurt Thaw, chair of the Psychology and Neuroscience Department says that the name of the psychology department has actually been revised to include neuroscience, “and if you check the Millsaps Course Catalog, you will see that neuroscience is housed under psychology.”
The confusion may have stemmed from the department “currently exploring allowing students to double major in biology and neuroscience,” offers Melissa Lea, director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies and associate professor of psychology.
“Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field of study and at most colleges, is either housed in the biology department, or the psychology Department,” Thaw says. The reason for this is because there is so much overlap between the areas of study in neuroscience and the fields of biology and psychology.”
At hearing these rumors to be false, some students expressed relief, acknowledging that comprehensive exams are part of the high value of a Millsaps education.
“If they consolidated the biology and neuroscience departments that wouldn’t be good because it w,ould make it harder to specialize in a particular field,” says junior biology major Lydia Chase.