Comments and Questions from Listening Session with Bruce

Biology Department Comments

We provide a lot of service for the campus, especially 200 level lab courses, and can’t expand enrollment much further.  Without revising the curriculum, we can’t offer some of our labs as evening courses, since we use the arboretum as a lab.

Concerned with how the TA SCH are counted differently from faculty, which skews the department totals.  Definition of SCH is done at the university level, rather than college or department.

PEHR uses biology courses to sort out students for the major.    PEHR ought to have a course that tells students why science is important for the major.    

The department has hired strategically, and now we have many talented asst profs, at a point in their career where budget cuts will be a challenge.  How can we manage cuts strategically? 

Over about 10 years, there has been a gradual increase in expectations for research.  Institutional support is mixed.  RSP support is good.    What is the role of research (and support for it) in an undergraduate institution?

Are there good prospects for philanthropic funds?

Time is also a resource. We provide released time to write grant proposal but we don’t usually provide release time for research time.  (Bruce – surprised.  Good grant proposal should count as a publication.)

Seems we could market Biology and Chemistry to get better connections with funders. 

Do we need to change the way the legislature looks at us? 

Graduate programs are a strong part of the success in our niche so we need to avoid sacrificing the graduate program to budget cuts.  We are in danger of losing several assistantships. 

Grad students are necessity for 300 and 400 level courses – they really help us reach excellence (in a different way from research U’s where grad students just take the teaching load).

UG students can more easily link with grad students who understand more clearly where they are.  Successful role models help raise their aspirations.

Grad students also broaden our own research horizons.  Lots of different directions for synergy.

Background for questions posed and issues raised during the session is summarized here.


Page Updated 11.27.2013