By Johnny Jackson
Gordon College officials hope to fulfill a growing need in the area's educational sector through the college's two, new, four-year, degree programs.
This fall, Gordon will begin offering courses leading toward a bachelor's degree in mathematics and biology, two crucial disciplines in the field of education, according to Allen Fuller, a mathematics professor at the college.
Fuller said approval of the mathematics and biology programs was granted by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The college is located in nearby Barnesville, Ga.
Fuller said both of the programs will provide two, different components of study: one for those wanting to enter the private sector workforce, and the other for those seeking to become certified teachers in mathematics or biology.
"The program is designed for students following many different career or educational paths after graduation," he said. "Ours is going to be a four-year program that leads to certification."
He said students taking the teacher-certification tract will study their respective disciplines alongside a state-directed education curriculum, in order to become certified mathematics or biology teachers at the secondary education level.
"I'm sure we'll get [students] who are interested in teaching," he said. "One of the critical need areas in high schools is the mathematics area, and there is a critical need for qualified high school teachers in just about every area of science."
The four-year mathematics degree program is the first bachelor's degree program to be offered through Gordon's Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, according to Fuller. He said all of the 4,500 students enrolled at the college, which includes a large number from Henry and Clayton counties, will take a mathematics course at some point during their education there.
About 1,200 Gordon students are enrolled in biology courses, said Theresa Stanley, a biology professor at Gordon. About 400 students are taking science-major-level courses.
"We expect around 24 students for our first semester of offering upper-division courses," Stanley said. Stanley said the college plans to offer courses in cellular, and molecular, biology, genetics, and general microbiology this fall.
"We offer 14 different math classes at the sophomore and freshman levels," added Fuller. "We will be offering quite a few more, starting fall 2010."
Fuller said Gordon's course offerings will increase by about 10 additional math classes over the next two years, to augment the four-year degree program.
The first degrees, in either biology or mathematics, are expected to be awarded in the spring of 2012. They will bring the number of four-year degrees up to four. Gordon, which awards associate degrees in 40 disciplines, already offers bachelor's degree programs in early childhood education and nursing.
On the net:
Gordon College: www.gdn.edu