Faculty and Staff
D. Bryan Bishop, chair
Ellen L. Aho
Jason M. Askvig
Michael R. Bush
Harshana DeSilva Feelixge, laboratory technician
John A. Flaspohler
Chris Graf, laboratory technician
Ivan M. Johnson, biologist-in-residence
Ronald L. Nellermoe, biologist-in-residence
Carol I. Pratt
Julie C. Rutherford
Jennifer L. Sweatman
Joseph C. Whittaker
The biology department mission is to:
- convey to students an understanding of how the biological sciences inform society
- convey an understanding of how the human population and nature are interacting parts of creation
- explore the limitations, boundaries, and ethical implications of scientific knowledge and practice
- provide students with experiences that introduce them to up-to-date technologies and research methods employed in biology
- foster respect and appreciation for different modes of inquiry in the biological sciences
- The biology department provides learning experiences that prepare students to:
- understand the basic concepts of the biological sciences
- understand the limitations, boundaries, and ethical implications of scientific knowledge and practice
- be familiar with up-to-date technologies and research methods employed in biological sciences
- experience different modes of inquiry in the biological sciences, such as group learning and collaborative problem-solving
- develop professional communication skills, including scientific reading, writing and speaking
The department seeks to convey the excitement of biological inquiry and discovery through a variety of means: encouraging group learning and collaborative problem-solving, providing opportunities to explore career options and helping students to develop professional communication skills, including scientific reading, writing and speaking. Sophomore and above biology majors who meet criteria are invited to participate in the biology departmental honors program. Biology students are encouraged to participate in laboratory or field research projects, which can be arranged on a directed research basis with various faculty members in the biology department. Majors are also regularly employed as laboratory assistants in the beginning biology courses and as teaching assistants to individual faculty, where they gain valuable teaching experience under the direct supervision of a biology staff member.
Students seeking licensure to teach biology must also fulfill the requirements for a major in education. For additional information about teaching biology, see Dr. Krys Strand in biology or the chair of education.
General Science add-on education endorsement: Students majoring in biology and earning a licensure for teaching may complete an add-on option for grades 5-8 licensure.
An examination of the basic concepts of biology and the ways in which biologists ask and answer questions; practical applications of important biological discoveries and their relationships to public issues. Designed for non-majors. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the global studies program and the environmental and sustainability studies program.
This course provides an introduction to cell structure and function. Major topics include the scientific method of study, the biochemistry and organization of the cell, mechanisms by which energy is harvested and used by cells, how cells reproduce, and how information is stored and used within a cell. Offered in an integrated lecture/laboratory format.
An introduction to the major concept of biology-evolutionary theory. The diversity of life on earth, excluding the vertebrates of the animal kingdom, is then explored in light of this concept. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the environmental and sustainability studies program.
Intended for freshmen and sophomore students interested in various careers in the health professions. This course offers a balance of personal reflection and practical information. The concept of "vocation as calling" will be emphasized and students will be asked to reflect upon their reasons for choosing a particular career path. Practical information will include various career options in the health professions, undergraduate expectations, professional school admissions requirements, and non-traditional career paths.
This course is primarily designed for students in the nursing and nutrition and dietetics programs, however enrollment is open to any interested student. This course examines basic concepts in microbiology, with emphasis placed on bacteria. Three class periods and four hours of laboratory per week.
Covers the basic principles of energy and nutrient movement through the ecosystems, the forces that structure ecosystems, and the interactions between organisms and the environment and each other. This course emphasizes quantitative skills. Two lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the environmental and sustainability studies program.
A study of classical genetics, gene structure, and mechanisms of gene expression. This course is writing intensive. Model systems commonly used in molecular genetic research are used in labs. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
Examination of contemporary issues in biomedicine from the perspective of several disciplines, including biology, medicine, ethics, sociology and economics. The course does not count toward the biology major or minor. Prerequisite: four credits in biology
An examination of the basic principles of ecology with extensive field investigation of numerous types of ecosystems.
This course, which focuses on the structure and functions of human organ systems and includes examination of human cadavers, is recommended for majors and minors in physical education and for students preparing for allied health professions. It is also open to biology majors and minors who do not take BIOL 411 - Integrated Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology I. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
A study of the form and function of birds, their identification, life history and adaptations. Two lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the environmental and sustainability studies program.
Introduction to insects and their ecology, their interaction with people via medical and veterinarian entomology, as well as forensic entomology, and the role insects have played in human history. Two lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the environmental and sustainability studies program.
Mammalogy is the study of mammals, their identification, evolution, natural history, and techniques used for scientific study. The course covers anatomy, phylogeny, systematics, ecology, adaptations, physiology, natural history, and current methodology used to study mammals.
Identification, nomenclature, and classification of vascular plants. Six hours of lecture and laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the environmental and sustainability studies program.
Students will develop their understanding of biodiversity, the skills needed to participate in the science and management of Earth's biological systems, and individual perspectives on responsible engagement in the world as scientists and as citizens. Three hours of lab per week or, in alternate years, a ten-day field trip to Florida during Spring Break (an additional fee will be required for the Florida years).
A microscopic study of tissues and organs of vertebrates, with special reference to humans. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. Lab includes introduction to basic histotechnique and digital photomicroscopy.
A study of the physiological, ecological, and evolutionary aspects of animal behavior. Labs focus on learning observation skills, terminology, and designing of animal behavior experiments. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week. This course can also count toward the environmental and sustainability studies program.
An in-depth study of the human immune system and its regulation. The mechanisms and actions of the humoral and cell-mediated immune systems are emphasized. A portion of the course is devoted to representative parasitic protozoa, helminthes and arthropods, with emphasis on host-parasite interactions. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
Students will develop a basic understanding of a GIS and how it is used to make geospatial decisions using the software ArcGIS. Students will learn the use of spatial analytical tools to answer questions and solve problems concerning spatial data, and present their results in professional quality maps. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
Courses covering various topics of interest in this particular discipline are offered regularly. Contact department or program chair for more information.
This course expands upon content covered in NEU 109 and BIO 222 and explores a variety of topics including neuroanatomy, neural cell characteristics and communication, and mechanisms of nervous system injury and repair. There is an emphasis on active learning, experimental design, and reading scientific literature. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
Principles of animal development with an emphasis on the developmental anatomy of vertebrates. Two lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
Discussion of the basic principles concerning the relationships between organisms and their environments. Two lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
The scientific study of the genetic mechanisms and internal organization of the cell, with an emphasis on cells in their social context and contemporary methods for investigating cells. Offered as lecture/lab combo with two lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
This course examines principles and techniques of microbiology, with emphasis placed on bacteria. The role of microorganisms in relation to humans is stressed. Three class periods and four hours of laboratory per week.
The scientific study of physical, chemical and biological conditions in freshwater ecosystems. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
Together with BIOL 412, this course focuses on structures and functions of vertebrate organ systems, with primary emphasis on mammals. Included is study of skeletal, muscle, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, renal, digestive and reproductive systems, with emphasis on normal homeostatic mechanisms and pathophysiology. Laboratory study includes dissection of the human body, small animal surgery and selected physiological studies. Three lecture sessions and four hours of laboratory per week.
A continuation of BIOL 411. Three lectures sessions and four hours of laboratory per week.
This course is intended to follow an introductory course in genetics. It is not a comprehensive course but will cover a variety of topics in depth, typically including cancer genetics, developmental genetics, genetics of complex traits, extranuclear inheritance, quantitative genetics and evolutionary genetics. Three lectures and four hours of laboratory per week.
This biology field course will provide students with the unique opportunity to become immersed in the ecology of east Africa. This field course will teach students plant and wildlife identification skills, basic monitoring and behavioral ecology techniques. Course consists of an intensive 30-day trip in east Africa. There will be a series of meetings the semester prior to departure.
This course provides an opportunity for individual students to conduct in-depth study of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. Contact the department or program chair for more information.
This course provides an opportunity for individual students to conduct research in a specific area of study, completed under the direction of a faculty mentor. Specific expectations of the research experience to be determined by the faculty. Repeatable for credit. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
A directed-research course taught in the style of a graduate school seminar. Students propose, plan and conduct original research, read primary literature, evaluate data and prepare results for presentation. Research integrates multiple science disciplines and encourages development of independent and collaborative research skills. Additional techniques and related topics are discussed.