By Lindsey Reemsynder
Town Hall is put on by the Natural Sciences Council every semester. The purpose of such meeting is to give our college students an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and offer solutions to areas that need improvement. CNS Dean Linda Hicke, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Dr. Sacha Kopp, Assistant Dean Dr. Sarah Simmons, Career Services Director Dr. Ruth Franks, and Health Professions Office Director Lesley Riley all attend to address topics CNS students raise. Below are the pros and cons students have found while being in the College of Natural Sciences.
“I really like the fact that the College of Natural Sciences has the Freshman Research Initiative,” tells Jasneet Singh, a Computer Science major. “During FRI my freshman year, I had the opportunity to work on a self-driving car, which was really cool.” He also finds Town Halls beneficial, “I appreciate how the dean and other administrators are willing to take the time out and come to Town Halls and listen to the concerns of students and take steps to correct those concerns in order to make the college a better place.” Cons he has found: “I think the college needs more advisors (especially for Computer Science) and I think minors should be allowed. I’d like to take more math classes but I don’t have time for a double major.”
Laura Jane Washburn, Neurobiology major, only sees pros when it comes to CNS: “I like that all my professors have accomplished something major, and do not act like teaching is just a profession. All of my professors love what they do.”
Nutrition major, Brandi Kuritz finds that our college has “a lot of good extra resources, a good staff in our college, and a good diversity of majors.” However, she sees areas that can improve. She does not see why CNS students must take the same liberal arts core classes as core students. Liberal arts students “take watered down versions of science classes for their core classes.”
Karl Migacz, Biology major, says the college provides “tons of amazing faculty, great opportunities if you search them out (whether they be for research, a job, etc.), interesting classes.” However, he does point out, “We’re the biggest college, so we hold some sway with certain things. It can be difficult to get into classes sometimes, labs take more outside time than they should given they are only 2 credit hours.” He also is not fond of the Quest system or the Organic Chemistry Lab’s double lab write-up weeks.
“I have always considered myself a ‘Natural Sciences’ girl,” says Alyssa Pappas, Human Development & Family Sciences: Early Childhood major. “Even despite my three changes of major so far in my two years here, they have all been within CNS. As there are pros and cons to everything in life, there are within this college. A definite con is class size. I have yet to be in a lecture with less than about 80 people. Another downside would be the current degree plans for those of us with multiple interests. Though I would like to learn about neurobiology it is almost impossible to follow my passion of human development and family sciences at the same time due to the rigorous course load/hour requirements. Additionally, there definitely needs to be work done regarding the credit we get for science labs. However, there are many pros as well! I have had a great experience in FRI and my FIG. The college has great opportunities for research and finding a group of people you identify with.”
In conclusion, the College of Natural Sciences, like every other college at the University of Texas, has its pros and cons. Town Hall offers a great way to allow the negatives to be addressed and promotes the growth of our college. We appreciate the deans and leadership of our college for coming out, and addressing any problems and issues we find while enrolled in the college. Be sure to come out to Town Hall sponsored by the Natural Sciences Council every semester!