Students enrolled or waitlisted in Biological Basis of Behavior (Neuro 101) were unenrolled from the course due to shifts in teaching staff, according to a Wednesday morning email to enrolled students from Bridgette Hard and Leonard White, directors of undergraduate studies in psychology and neuroscience, which was obtained by The Chronicle.
Karen Murphy, lecturer of psychology and neuroscience and the instructor of the course, will leave Duke August 15. The course will now instead be taught by Minna Ng, assistant professor of the practice in psychology and neuroscience.
White wrote that the department’s plan was to maximize enrollment given the available space and place “the very best faculty member” in the course.
“We are most fortunate to have [Ng], who is that faculty member,” White wrote.
Under Ng, there will be no discussion section for the course, so a reconfigured course needed to be posted on DukeHub with only the live lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays included. Students who were enrolled in the course were unenrolled and can re-add the course beginning Thursday morning.
Ng’s other fall courses will be canceled to allow her to focus on the newly configured Neuro 101, White wrote to students. This will create “another cohort of students who may also be interested in enrolling” in the course, according to the email to students. However, the enrollment cap will remain at 150 students, meaning that some students who were originally enrolled may not be able to take it.
According to data obtained by The Chronicle, 142 students were enrolled in the lecture section of the course at 8 p.m. on July 20. Four of the six discussion sections were at capacity. For Neuro 102, which Ng was previously slated to teach, 49 out of 50 seats were filled.
Re-enrollment in the Neuro 101 course will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Students were encouraged in the email to add the course Thursday “or as soon as possible.”
In addition to removing discussion sections, the lectures will also look different for Neuro 101 in the fall. Tuesday meetings will be live lectures with “active learning experiences planted throughout,” while Thursdays will “feature team-based collaborative learning, concept formation and problem-solving.”
White wrote that he hopes students understand they are “doing [their] best under conditions of very short notice to serve as many students as possible” who want to take the course.
“We have practical constraints, such as which faculty are available to step into this course to teach, what spaces are available and what are their capacities, and what can we do across the academic year to provide opportunity to students to meet their needs,” he wrote.
He encouraged students who cannot re-enroll in the course to contact their director of undergraduate studies for specific advice.
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The department is considering how to increase capacity for Neuro 101 in spring 2022 and “will be working through several possibilities in the weeks ahead,” White wrote.
“As always, we are aiming to provide the very best experience for our students in psychology and neuroscience and we appreciate their collaboration and resilience as we make the best of challenging circumstances,” he wrote.
Murphy did not immediately respond to a request from The Chronicle inquiring about her reason for departing from the University.
Nadia Bey is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.
Leah Boyd is a Pratt junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 117th volume.