Biological sciences spring forward, return to in-person classes in 2022

Professor Jennifer Maupin holds up a model flower for her Plant Biology class on Dec. 1 in the Earth and Planetary Sciences building at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Maupin also uses her hand to demonstrate the shape of the flower.

Melanie Janicke, Staff Writer

In-person classes will be in bloom for City College’s biology department this spring semester, starting on January 10, 2022.

The department wasn’t able to offer many face-to-face classes during the fall semester, but the faculty is happy they will be back on campus to teach about 60% of their classes in person during the new year.

“It will just be awesome to be back with students and have everybody out in nature. We’re pretty excited about that,” Biology Department Chair Michelle Paddack said.

Although City College has officially returned to in-person instruction since the beginning of the fall semester, the biology department could only offer about 13% of their classes face-to-face and had to offer most courses online.

Some concerns remain about teaching in person.

“With new variants and uncertainty, I am a little apprehensive about returning to the classroom,” assistant professor of biology Patty Saito said.

“Human anatomy is best done in person with hands-on experience with models and cadavers but having to prepare online options for everything when students feel under the weather seems a bit daunting.”

Paddack however, who also teaches marine biology, is not concerned about returning to in-person instruction in January.

“It seems like it’s been working pretty well for the faculty in my department that has been doing face-to-face,” she said.

“I will continue to encourage students to socialize with each other while maintaining COVID-related safety measures,” said zoology instructor Hisaya Fukui. “As I have always done in the past, I will continue to acknowledge and support students who are struggling with mental health issues and provide as much support as possible.”

Although the classes offered in the spring semester will differ from the ones in the fall — they won’t necessarily be new for the department.

“It hasn’t really been the time where we’ve been able to launch any new initiatives,” the department chair said.

“We had to do a lot to meet state requirements to teach all of our classes online during COVID, so it was pretty overwhelming for our faculty.”

Nevertheless, the biology department is planning many projects and classes for the spring semester such as labs and outside work.

“We always have a series of field trips during lab times. I am especially looking forward to those,“ said Matthew C. Kay, instructor of the flowering plant identification botany class.

Students registering for biology classes in the spring are suggested to look through all the classes of all sections. Some are listed under biology, some as environmental studies, some as botany or biomedical science and others as zoology.

Paddack also emphasized to students not majoring in biology that they don’t necessarily have to take BIOL100 in order to fulfill their basic biology requirement.

She also recommends students to look for City College’s scholarships, as a few years ago the biology department received a donation from a deceased faculty member that supports students with a declared biology major.