The Department of Biology studies life at all levels, from molecules to biosphere, to
understand the evolution, structure, maintenance, and dynamics of biological
systems. Our teaching and research provide the integrative and conceptual
foundations of the life sciences.
Approved by the Biology faculty at their first joint retreat (October, 2008).
The life sciences are among the most rapidly advancing fields in human inquiry, with major
gains occurring from molecular genetics to global climate.
Because our work so broadly
engages the life sciences, we serve as a nexus of research and training across campus. Our
excellence as a department is central to the continued success of life sciences at the University of
Strategic planning must encompass both historical context and present status.
Thus, we emphasize that this is the first strategic plan of the Department of Biology, which was
created in spring 2008 by merging the departments of Botany and Zoology, along with the
Biological Sciences Program. Botany and Zoology were full-fledged, independent departments,
with faculty, staff, undergraduate majors, and graduate programs, whereas BSC was a program
that coordinated introductory biology for majors and non-majors.
Since the merger, we have focused on integrating the faculty of the two departments and creating
a common culture.
We have recruited a new chair, approved new bylaws, created new structures
for internal governance, and created consensus across previous departmental boundaries.
outcome is that we have a highly functional department, ready to engage in substantive long
Here, we lay out a five-year strategic plan to guide our new department.
view this plan as a living document -- a critical first step to focus and facilitate discussion on a
wide variety of issues central to departmental function and spirit.
We strongly suggest that it be
revisited in a substantive way when the department has had more time to reflect and to mature.
While the Department of Biology is appreciably smaller than the combined size of Zoology and