College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean presents new introductory course, ‘Think Like Einstein’ for CSUF freshmen

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Marie Johnson, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, laid out a new strategy for incoming freshmen in her college and the effects her plans will have on the campus community.

Johnson, who has served as the college’s dean since early 2016, spoke to a handful of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members Tuesday about a new introductory course called Think like Einstein, which she said will offer a fresh take on the curriculum-standard critical thinking courses for Cal State Fullerton freshmen.

The overall goal for the new course is to place students on a path that best suits their interests and skill sets.

“Nobody’s goal is to have a student come in, spend a whole lot of time in school, amass a whole lot of debt, quit and not get a degree,” Johnson said. “Across the country, colleges and universities are focusing on student success, and we are no exception.”

Think like Einstein will be mandatory for all freshman natural sciences and mathematics majors starting fall 2018.

Johnson also welcomed discussion about the current status of remedial courses at CSUF, which are undergoing changes in order to boost four-year graduation rates.

“In the CSU life, we have a lot of students who have to take remedial math, need to take remedial English or both,” Johnson said. “The Cal State is seeing a failure rate of 31 percent (among remedial math students).”

Johnson’s presentation was the final installment of Tales of a Great University, a four-part series of presentations by deans of CSUF colleges.

The presentations were designed and hosted to offer insight for improving future student and alumni success, by covering topics including environmental sustainability, improving health and quality of life.

Other speakers included Edward Fink, interim dean of the College of Communications, Susamma Barua, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science and Laurie Roades, dean of the College of Health and Human Development.

The series of presentations ran from Oct. 10 to Nov. 28 in the Mackey Auditorium.

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