New science course to be offered on OU's Arezzo campus
AT A GLANCE
Microbiology classes offered at OU in Arezzo, July 2013
Basic Immunology: A 4000-level course that teaches students about the body’s immune response when it encounters pathogens. It will also show how the immune system develops and how it can make mistakes and cause autoimmunity, allergies and cancer.
Pathogenic Microbiology: A 4000-level course that teaches students about pathogens that try to cause infections. It also will talk about emerging pathogens’ effects on society, as well as health care services.
A new microbiology study abroad program will infect OU’s Arezzo campus next July and make it easier for science majors to earn credit while abroad.
The summer program will include OU’s basic immunology and pathogenic microbiology courses and will join two other science programs already offered in Arezzo — Organic Chemistry/Chemistry & Wine Culture and Chemistry & Art.
Science classes offered abroad are a rare phenomena for a number of reasons, immunology professor Casie Collamore said in an email.
“I think part of the rarity is because it seems daunting to offer hard science courses in a four week time frame,” she said. “Some subjects just can’t be tailored to fit such a tight schedule and expect the students to really absorb the material. Another problem is that many hard science faculty also have research labs that require their attention, and it is difficult to leave the lab bench and their students for a long period of time.”
This isn’t the first time the microbiology department has attempted to offer classes abroad, Collamore said. A few years ago, pathogenic microbiology professor Tyrrell Conway submitted a proposal to teach a microbiology class, but it was denied because it wasn’t going to be taught alongside a second course.
As microbiology advisor, Collamore spoke with a number of microbiology students who wanted to study abroad but couldn’t because none of the offered classes were required for their degrees. When she heard that Conway’s proposal had been denied, she spoke with him and they came up with a new proposal together, Collamore said.
The two professors thought Arezzo would be the perfect place to teach the two classes because it is the birthplace of Francesco Redi, a physician who helped disprove spontaneous generation. This finding led to the Golden Age of Microbiology, a time during which scientists discovered that microbes exist and cause disease, Collamore said.
“It is thought [Francesco Redi’s] body is buried there as well, but nobody can find it,” Collamore said. “It seemed like a very fitting place to teach the two subjects.”
Conway and Collamore will teach the pathogenic microbiology course and immunology course respectively. While pathogenic microbiology is required for microbiology majors, basic immunology is a popular course commonly taken by microbiology majors to meet their elective requirements, Collamore said.
Only 20 students will be able to enroll in the program next summer, and those students will be chosen on a “first applied-first accepted” basis, international programs coordinator Karen Elmore said in an email.
Because of the small number of students able to enroll, the rarity of science classes abroad and the amount of student feedback they’ve received, both Elmore and Collamore said they are optimistic about filling the classes.