A Bachelor of Biomedical Science, hosted in the School of Science, will commence on Brisbane, Melbourne and North Sydney campuses in semester 1, 2015. The program includes discipline core content in biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. Students will undertake a series of units exploring the management and analysis of data – a key skill set for biomedical scientists of the future. Six elective slots will allow the students to develop their own degree program aligned with their interests and career aspirations. A group of elective units have been developed to prepare students for work in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries, and for further study in the health sciences, although students can choose electives from other faculties or make use of cross institutional enrolment. We are in planning now for the establishment of dual degrees, allowing students to combine Biomedical Science with law, business, applied public health or global studies. Dual degrees will commence in 2016.
Environmental Science students experience their first field trip
Twenty seven first year Environmental Science students and five staff recently spent a four day weekend at Smiths Lake on the NSW north coast, giving the students their first taste of field work. Leaving Sydney at the end of a wet week, there was concern about the potential of four long wet days in the field, but Smiths Lake was mostly sunny and dry with temperatures in the high teens to low twenties.
Field work is a critical professional skill for Environmental Scientists and the trip to Smiths Lake allows the students to begin working towards competency in ecological field methods. Each day starts early, with daily bird surveys performed at daybreak to identify the diverse bird fauna of Smiths Lake. Students then work in small groups, rotating through five field skills: sampling and measuring water quality; capturing, counting and identifying insects and microbats; counting tree hollows – an important habitat health measure; capturing, counting and identifying fish using seine nets; and macrobenthos coring to identify and count crustaceans, worms and gastropods that live in the sediments of the lake floor. In addition to the field techniques learnt, students must demonstrate competence in data management and analysis, audio-visual presentation of results, and scientific report writing. Field work consolidates the learning that has happened on-campus throughout the semester, providing an important mechanism for students to practice the techniques they have learnt about in lectures.
Of course, an extended field trip like this visit to Smiths Lake is also a social opportunity for the students, with new friendships made and old friendships strengthened. Our small cohort allows the students to really get to know each and every one of their colleagues and the staff. What a great learning opportunity for these future Environmental Scientists!