Cool classes for conquering college:
Bio for Non-Majors with Thomas Kennedy
By Nick Christian
With the Mid-Term approaching, it won’t be long until students begin to consider what classes to take in the upcoming spring term. Science Professor Thomas Kennedy said he recommends his Bio for Non-Majors class to students who are unsure of what to take next term.
While Kennedy is not teaching the non-majors class this semester, he said that it is probably one of the most fun classes he gets to teach.
“The idea of teaching a non-majors class is you’ve got a group of students that, quite frankly, they’re there kinda because they have to be, to get that science requirement out of the way,” said Kennedy. “So, it’s a challenge to get those students interested and fired up about biology and science.”
Kennedy said that he finds it interesting to take students who may not be very interested in a subject and show them biology is “really cool stuff, and actually very important in your life.”
Recognizing that the non-major class may be the only science class students will take in their collegiate career, Kennedy said he really tries to install in his students what it means to be scientific.
Understanding what is science and what is not science is one of the things Kennedy said he strives into his students. Kennedy said traditional non-major’s courses tend to focus on cell biology, genetics, cellular respiration and mitosis; He said he tries to expand that to try to include ecology, a lot of evolution –calling it the central theme of biology, and some other diversity.
To a student who isn’t a science major and questioning what science class to take, Kennedy said Biology is interesting and gets a bad rap as a memorization of facts and that the faculty at CNM don’t try to do that.
“The idea for non-majors is you’re going to learn about biology, you’re going to learn about yourself, and you’re going to learn about the world you live in,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy, a UNM graduate, said in the last couple of years of his PhD program he really wanted to go into teaching. He said he spent a year teaching at a Georgia community college called Georgia Highlands in Cartersville, Georgia. When he saw that CNM had a full time position open, Kennedy said he prepared extensively because he really wanted the position.
Starting his second year at CNM, Kennedy said there are several things about CNM that makes it different from other institutions.
“We have a really unique blend of very interesting students from a wide range of backgrounds, more so than any other college I have been in,” said Kennedy. “Not only do I have interesting students, I also have really good colleagues.”
Currently Kennedy is teaching cell biology and the accompanying lab, and he said he will be teaching those in the spring. While Kennedy said he likes teaching all the classes, some of his favorites are; the 2410 ecology of evolution class because it was his PhD training, and the 2510 Plant, Animal, form and function class.