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College of Natural and Health Sciences

Five Year Plan

In order to meet the needs of students, faculty, administration, and communities served by the Department of Biology, the faculty has developed the following list of goals, objectives, and strategies.  

Introduction

The past two decades have witnessed the biotechnological revolution that is dawning into a new age of bioinformatics and proteomics: a science that will critically impact virtually every aspect of human lives.  At the same time, we and others around the world have become more aware of the critical importance of biodiversity and of other natural resources. Given these realities, there is no department more critical to the fulfillment of the major goals of a University than its Department of Biology.

  • The Department of Biology plays a central role in the University by providing fundamental lecture and laboratory courses introducing biological principles to students majoring in biology and all students at the University.
  • The Department provides modern and comprehensive biology curricula for biology and for pre-professional careers.
  • The Department is planning to enhance teaching by acquiring additional classroom space and laboratory facilities.
  • The Department offers a course in general biology for non-majors serving almost 900 students yearly that requires significant investment in laboratory space and supplies.  
  • The Department also offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science degree that currently enrolls 30 graduate students.  These students need to be provided with increased laboratory space and supplies. 
  • The Department plans to enhance the professional opportunities for graduate students through participation in teaching freshman biology laboratories.
  • The Department has a diverse group of faculty who provide a wide range of teaching and research expertise to the university and general community.  For example, faculty serve on scientific advisory, professional organizations, and editorial boards. 
  • The Department plans to recruit additional faculty to broaden its teaching and research capabilities. To accommodate current and expected faculty we will need expanded laboratory space and teaching facilities.
  • To increase the competitiveness of faculty in securing competitive grants, seed money and reduced teaching loads are necessary.  

Department of Biology Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biology at Virginia State University is to provide opportunities for professional development to students, faculty, and the broader university community through excellence in teaching, research and service.

  • Teaching: The Department of Biology is committed to providing and maintaining a rigorous curriculum that promotes an understanding of the major principles and concepts in biology, develops critical thinking and communication skills, and fosters a continuous interest in learning.  The Department seeks to prepare students for postgraduate training and professional employment.
  • Research: The Department of Biology is committed to providing research opportunities for faculty and students.
  • Service: The Department of Biology is committed to providing professional expertise to the University and the general public

Department of Biology Goals

Teaching Goals

  1. Establish and maintain relevant undergraduate and graduate curricula.
  2. Increase the participation of underrepresented groups in professional employment and postgraduate training.
  3. Enhance the scholastic and communication skills of students.
  4. Enhance the critical thinking and investigative ability of students.
  5. Continually develop and update curriculum and pedagogical methods, and seek funding to enhance teaching.
  6. Involve graduate students in teaching and other department activities.   

Research Goals 

  1. Promote and expand research activities of faculty and students.
  2. Secure intramural and extramural funding sources for departmental research activities.
  3. Encourage interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research activity.
  4. Encourage dissemination of research activity through publication and attendance of professional meetings.

Service Goals

  1. Provide academic and career advising.
  2. Make individual and collective professional expertise available to the university and general public.
  3. Recognize and reward student achievement. 

Department of Biology Objectives

Teaching Objectives

  1. Develop both general biological and pre-professional undergraduate curricula.
  2. Recruit both undergraduate and graduate students with demonstrated high levels of academic achievement.
  3. Encourage the participation of undergraduate students in research, publications, and professional meetings.
  4. Increase student success by maintaining and enhancing appropriate class sizes.
  5. Enhance peer mentoring activities within the department.
  6. Request increased funding to support laboratory courses.
  7. Maintain and enhance the general education program.
  8. Develop and support "Center for Excellence in Biotechnology."

Research Objectives

  1. Provide faculty time and resources sufficient to conduct original and significant research.
  2. Provide faculty time and resources sufficient to enable faculty to successfully compete for extramural funding.

Service Objectives

  1. Obtain funding to provide scholarship and research funding for students.
  2. Develop a brochure to disseminate faculty expertise to the University community.
  3. Enhance departmental web page.
  4. Explore feasibility of distance learning opportunities.

Department of Biology Strategy

  1. Reduce faculty teaching load to nine contact hours so that faculty are able to provide more individualized instruction, particularly with regard to undergraduate research projects.
  2. Curriculum committee will develop new curricula for general biology and pre-health professions.
  3. Faculty will develop new courses to meet changes in the field.
  4. Request two new faculty positions to support current and future departmental teaching needs in bioinformatics and proteomics.
  5. Acquire funds to establish Center for Excellence in Biotechnology.
  6. Obtain sufficient teaching laboratory space in newly renovated Owens Hall to meet present needs in graduate and undergraduate teaching.
  7. Initiate a feasibility study regarding the development of doctoral programs in science education and biosciences.
  8. Obtain sufficient computer based teaching resources to enhance the general education program.
  9. Involve graduate students in teaching of freshman level laboratory courses.

Research Strategy

  1. Reduce faculty teaching load to nine contact hours so that faculty can successfully pursue original and significant research programs that will allow them to compete for extramural funding.
  2. Request two new faculty positions to support current and future departmental research needs in bioinformatics and proteomics.
  3. Establish a teaching and research environment that will allow the department to successfully recruit new faculty capable of developing quality teaching and research programs.
  4. Request adequate startup funding for new faculty research.
  5. Continue to receive Equipment Trust Fund monies to maintain and update laboratory equipment.
  6. Establish departmental research seminars and workshops.

Service Strategy

  1. Identify extramural funding sources for student scholarships and student research.
  2. Encourage faculty development in electronic media and web based instruction.
  3. Establish inter-institutional  and intra-institutional internships and exchange programs.
  4. Establish web based resource for departmental faculty expertise.
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