The goals of the Biology department are to provide students opportunities to explore the diversity of life within the tradition of a liberal arts education.
To accomplish our first goal we require course work that spans the entire field of biology, as well as course work that provides depth in at least one sub-discipline. Students who choose to major or minor in biology complete a common core program which includes two introductory courses that have been designed to explore four critical fields in modern biology: ecology, evolution, genetics, and cellular biology. Course work beyond the introductory level provides depth by including taxon-based organismal courses, research methods courses, and a wide variety of upper-level courses that span the field of biology. We offer courses from across the breadth of the field each semester so that students can customize their major to achieve their own educational goals while providing preparation necessary to be successful in their future career.
While our courses' subject matter covers the diversity of the field of biology it maintains a common goal that places it within the tradition of the liberal arts education. Our courses emphasize both written and oral communication and all upper-level courses require independent study. Each course emphasizes active learning rather than rote memorization by providing problems that require critical thinking in order to solve them. Connections are made at every opportunity between biological knowledge and other disciplines. As part of this effort faculty in the Biology Department are active participants in the interdisciplinary Environmental Science, Neuroscience Program, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry programs.