Department Goals

Goals of the Department

Provide Courses for a Comprehensive Major

  • Biology majors are required to take a yearlong introductory course, usually in their freshman year, that covers the breadth of the field and provides a solid foundation for subsequent coursework.
  • Biology majors are required to take a set of more narrowly focused biology courses after their freshman year that cover a range of subdisciplines.
  • The department offers electives from a range of subdisciplines that provide the opportunity for students to focus on particular areas of interest.

Foster Initiative and Independence in Scientific Inquiry

  • Independent research with a faculty sponsor is available as a course for credit during all four years of the major including summers.
  • Biology majors are required to complete at least one semester (or the equivalent) of independent research with a faculty member.
  • The department offers a limited number of paid summer research positions for students qualified and interested in conducting summer research.

Promote and Maintain Vigorous Faculty Research Programs

  • Faculty research programs that involve students and enhance teaching is clearly a goal of our faculty, but active research programs are also important to faculty as research professionals to stay intellectually engaged and up to date on current ideas and techniques.
  • The biology department provides some financial support, space, facilities, and clerical assistance to enable faculty to carry out their research and to attract extramural funding.

Foster the Writing and Communication of Biology

  • Courses in the major include activities that involve writing, reading, interpreting, and presenting scientific research.
  • Independent research conducted as part of the major requires a formal presentation to the department.
  • Students are encouraged to present their research, either orally or in a poster, at both on- and off-campus venues.

Provide Appropriate Courses for Non-Biology Majors

  • The department offers a variety of courses appropriate for non-science majors to fulfill general education requirements for the School of Humanities and Sciences.
  • The department participates in special programs of the School of Humanities and Sciences by offering biology-oriented courses designed for non-science majors.
  • The department offers an introductory biology sequence suitable for non-biology majors planning to pursue careers in the allied health field (physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise science) whose programs require introductory biology.
  • The department supports the environmental studies program by teaching required and elective courses for this major.

Contribute to the Biochemistry Major

  • Along with the chemistry department, the biology department teaches required and elective courses for the biochemistry major.
  • The biology faculty support the biochemistry major by acting as research sponsors for biochemistry students interested in conducting independent research for credit.

Contribute to the Environmental Studies Program

  • Faculty in the biology department teach five required courses in this program -- Environmental Science I and II, Principles of Biology II, Fundamentals of Biology II, and Field Biology. Several other biology courses serve as electives for this program of study.
  • Biology faculty share in teaching of the capstone experience course.
  • Biology faculty provide advising for environmental studies students.

Contribute to Teacher Education

  • The department provides advisers, research opportunities, and courses appropriate for students interested in pursuing careers in secondary education.

Provide Effective Student Advising

  • Beginning in the freshman year and continuing thereafter faculty advisers in biology explain the requirements to the students to help them successfully complete the major.
  • The department provides information about tutors for students in need of close, ongoing assistance in their learning.
  • The department offers advising and support for students in biology and other majors who are planning to pursue graduate education in the health sciences.

Promote and Maintain a Vigorous Biology Seminar Program

  • The department supports an active seminar program that invites dynamic speakers whose research is of general interest to biology majors and who will interact with students and faculty.
  • Biology students are encouraged to attend biology seminars throughout their undergraduate experience. Majors are required to attend biology seminars for two semesters.