Steeple of Excellence—Our Vision Statement: The School of Natural and Health Sciences will develop an integrated undergraduate research/learning model for science education.
Our Steeple of Excellence model provides guidance to shape the curriculum and faculty/student interactions within our school. Pfeiffer University’s School of Natural and Health Sciences provides an outstanding undergraduate science education. The school’s curriculum reflects the faculty’s understanding of the integrative nature of the natural and health sciences and the value of interdisciplinary work across majors. Most students in the school take courses in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Graduates of the School of Natural and Health Sciences pursue degrees and careers across the country.
Dr. Mark McCallum has been at the helm of the School of Natural Sciences since 2003. A Pfeiffer faculty member since 1994, McCallum has served as chair of the Departments of Health Sciences and Biology. His research interests include how bacteria become resistant to different antibiotics and how antibiotic resistance can spread within populations of bacteria. McCallum earned a Ph.D. in biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Q: What makes the School of Natural Sciences at Pfeiffer distinctive?
A: The faculty members traditionally have provided a challenging academic experience for our students. The individual faculty members take the necessary time to serve as mentors both in research and career development for our students. In both science and math, there is a great deal of collaboration and cooperation in shaping the curriculum.
Q: How do programs and services prepare students for careers in math/science?
A: As part of the university’s strategic plan, the School developed a Steeple of Excellence to integrate an undergraduate research/learning model for science education into our curriculum. We want to challenge our students to engage in research inside and outside of the classrooms. Because of our small class sizes, we can spend more time mentoring students and utilizing activities that model math and science research to engage students. Our goal is to make students active participants in our classrooms and not just passive listeners.
Q: An impressive percentage number of Pfeiffer science graduates pursue advanced degrees. How do you foster this?
A: Approximately two-thirds of our students continue in graduate and/or professional programs after Pfeiffer. The success can be partially attributed to having science/math faculty who provide challenging experiences in the classroom. However, these individuals also put forth the extra energy to engage students in research outside of the classroom and to work with students in shaping career plans—the science/math faculty work hard to appropriately advise students and take pride in being knowledgeable advisors and mentors. We are very proud of our students’ successes.
Bailey Greene is a senior from Asheboro, NC, majoring in biology with minors in math and chemistry. She has been working with Dr. Dane Fisher in the Milton Rose Program. During her freshman year, she worked on agrobacterium transformations of tobacco plants and on Coleus Cv. mutations using UV light. As a sophomore, she worked on a tomato breeding project using heirloom and specially bred tomato varieties. During her junior year, Bailey worked on a project to transform soybeans using agrobacterium, and as a senior, Bailey began work on a project to establish DNA fingerprints for different tomato varieties that could eventually be used to determine if true hybrids have been made when doing crosses.
Learn more about Bailey's research project.