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Highlands University Offers New Non-Thesis Life Science Option for Science Teachers

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Biology professor Carol Linder

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Highlands University Offers New Non-Thesis Life Science Option for Science Teachers

 

New Mexico Highlands University is offering a new non-thesis life science master’s option this semester designed to help local science teachers advance their careers and give their students cutting-edge science knowledge.

“This new program will expose science teachers to the latest scientific discoveries, and enable them to teach these concepts to their students,” said biology professor Carol Linder.

“Our overall goal is to increase the number of Northern New Mexico students who enter careers in the sciences,” Linder said. “This new degree option will also build on existing relationships the biology program has established with area schools.”

 “This new program offers more flexibility for professional science teachers to pursue their advanced degrees,” said Mary Shaw, biology department chair. “This spring, several classes are scheduled in the late afternoon to accommodate the work schedule of science teachers. Independent research projects conducted in the summer are also part of the degree. Another benefit is that a non-thesis program will help teachers complete their graduate studies more quickly and advance their careers.”

Elaine Martinez, assistant director of licensure for the New Mexico Department of Public Education, said that a master’s degree is required for teachers to reach the highest level of licensure and pay. For example, the guaranteed base salary is $50,000 for a New Mexico public school teacher with a master’s degree and six years of experience.

 “Our biology program offers broad-based preparation ranging from fundamentals of lab safety to research methods to molecular biology,” Linder said. “We’ve been very successful in placing our graduates in doctoral programs and medical schools. We’re extremely proud of our biology graduates, and they are very satisfied with their education and training.”

Linder said that the biology program offers students individual attention and small discussion-style classes, which facilitates active learning and high student achievement. Biology faculty mentor all graduate students and help them develop an individualized degree program.

She said that for a small, regional university, the Highlands University faculty has been unusually successful in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding that exposes and involves students in biomedical research. 

Biology faculty research interests are diverse, including reproductive biology, genetics, cardiovascular biology, microbiology, botany and bioinformatics, the study of biology questions using public scientific databases available through the National Library of Medicine.

The university’s Ivan Hilton Science Building houses biology laboratories equipped for physiology, microbiology, cell and molecular biology research. There is also a greenhouse for botany research.

Linder said students receive hands-on training in technologies and instrumentation they will encounter in their careers.

Shaw said that for students interested in pursuing future graduate training, an M.S. in Life Science thesis option is also available.

For more information about the new non-thesis Life Science M.S., contact Linder at clinder@nmhu.edu or 505-454-3267.

Early registration for spring semester 2010 has started at Highlands University. To apply and register, visit www.nmhu.edu and use the future students link.