As a science major at Yale, albeit one who has returned to school with 20-plus years of life experience, I didn’t find Lindsay Gellman’s article surprising (“Many science majors don’t last four years,” Jan. 26).
I don’t mind the rigor and hard work associated with mastering complex subjects like biology, chemistry and physics. However, most introductory and even intermediate-level science classes at Yale are large lectures taught by professors of varying degrees of pedagogical skill and interest. Most are brilliant scientists, but many are less talented as teachers or would rather be in their labs than in front of a blackboard.
As noted in the News’ editorial last week, MIT and a host of other universities have recently revised their science curricula and teaching methods with much success. I guess here at Yale, we’ve had 300 years to get stuck in our ways. If Yale wants to improve science education, it needs to value the teaching of it more highly and invest in innovative, evidence-based approaches for teaching difficult subjects, even if it would require significant changes on Science Hill. Otherwise, despite the rationalizations coming from some members of the faculty and administration, students will continue to vote with their feet.
The writer is an Eli Whitney student in Berkeley College.