Mission Statement

The mission of the Biology Department is to provide our students with personalized, participative educational experiences over a broad range of biological disciplines that promote critical thinking, effective communication and lifelong learning skills. We provide learning opportunities where students can gain the knowledge, develop integrity and acquire the empathy needed to become independent researchers in the advancement of science.

Program Goal Statement

Biology strives to provide our students with quality lecture, laboratory, and field instructional experiences which foster student inquiry into science, and prepare them for post-baccalaureate pursuits by doing the following:

  • Maintain a highly qualified faculty with diverse areas of specialization covering the scope of the biological world. 
  • Foster student inquiry into science and experiential education using a variety of pedagogical approaches including laboratory and field-based activities.
  • Provide a personalized learning environment where students are educated in critical thinking, effective communication and lifelong learning skills scientific literacy. 
  • Provide opportunities for research, scholarship, and other professional experiences with qualified faculty mentors.  
  • Prepare students for post-baccalaureate pursuits including:

graduate programs

professional health programs

science teaching careers

natural resources management

other biology-related careers

  • Provide service courses for general education purposes and that adequately prepare students for acceptance to and success in other academic programs.
  • Establish short-term and long-term goals defining the future direction of the department and establish specific policies to describe departmental governance.
  • Develop departmental criteria to define excellence in teaching, exceptional service and outstanding scholarly activities and establish support mechanisms to encourage and reward those efforts.
  • Periodically review and modify curriculum to ensure that we are meeting our students’ needs while remaining current within our discipline and the evolving goals of SUU.

Student Learning Outcomes

Biology degrees are engineered to provide graduating students with the following learning outcomes. Specific course learning objectives or required skills and experiences are listed beneath each learning outcome:

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of general knowledge of biology: its language, history, findings and applications, including:

the basic chemistry of life, DNA, RNA, proteins

the processes associated with inheritance

cell structure and function

physiological systems and processes

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of interactions and adaptations within and among biological systems, including:

population biology and the importance of organismal interactions

the importance of the interaction between biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem

the diversity of living organisms and the evolutionary relationships among them

evolutionary processes and their importance

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the methodologies of science and will synthesize new knowledge from scientific literature; students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the following:

the scientific method

reading, understanding, and critiquing peer-reviewed literature

  • Students will communicate effectively in oral, written, and other formats; students will demonstrate their skills in the following areas:

oral presentation of scientific work or synthesis of knowledge from the field

written presentation of scientific work or synthesis of knowledge from the field

  • Students will use appropriate tools to carry out investigations in their intended fields, including:

demonstrating competency in use of appropriate field and/or laboratory equipment

successful completion of an SUU-approved experiential learning activity

acquiring sufficient knowledge and training to successfully enter graduate or professional school

completion of an independent research project.