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Open letter to Biology students in response to BLM protests

Dear Biology students,

We reach out to you today to acknowledge the gross societal injustices that continue to occur in our country and to offer our support as your mentors and educators. We recognize that right now, focusing on academic goals is difficult while Black Americans are having their lives threatened daily, even while birding. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among too many others, underscores the systemic racism pervasive in our society.

As we enter the final two weeks of the spring quarter, our first concern is of the health and wellbeing of you, our students. As such we are implementing four principles for creating a more equitable classroom:

  1. Community: We recognize that Biology faculty, staff, and students are a community that must support each other.
  2. Reflection: We welcome conversation around feelings and personal experiences regarding current events.
  3. Transparency: We strive to be as transparent as possible in communicating our expectations to you.
  4. 4. Flexibility: We will be flexible in the nature and timing of final assignments, exams, and grades.

We recognize that Biology, as a discipline, still has a long way to go toward achieving a truly diverse and inclusive environment. One source of positivity and hope is currently occurring on Twitter: Black Birders Week. We encourage you to support our community of black scientists by reading the pictures and messages they are sharing on the social media platform. They remind us that access to nature is not equally shared among everyone, that representation matters, and that we have much work to do to make our own scientific community more just. You can find the tweets by searching for the hashtags #BlackInNature, #BlackAFInSTEM, #BlackInSTEM, or #BlackBirdersWeek.

In solidarity,

The undersigned faculty and staff of the Biology Dept., CSUSB June 2, 2020

Angela Horner Tony Metcalf Becky Talyn Bree Putman Daniel Nickerson David Polcyn David Rhoads David Smith Debbie Reynolds James Ferrari Jeremy Dodsworth John Skillman Kwame Eshun Laura Newcomb Lisa Anderson Mike Chao Nicole Bournias-Vardiabasis Paul Orwin Stuart Sumida Susan Lujan Taylor Pupka Tomasz Owerkowicz Kim Williams Jeff Thompson Melissa Iyengar

2020 COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, all CSUSB courses, including BIOL courses, have moved online. Students should keep a close watch out for email announcements from administration, faculty, and staff. Biology faculty student hours will be held online using a variety of ways to connect with you. Summer and Fall 2020 office hours will be updated soon.

Resources for Biology students for COVID-19 online instruction

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Fall 2020 course registration

We are all in this together. Stay safe; stay healthy; and practice social distancing!

2020 new first time freshmen and transfer student session slides:

Department of Biology Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Biology is to contribute to the comprehensive liberal arts curriculum by fostering in students an appreciation of the relevance of the biological sciences to their lives and the choices they will be faced with as members of a society experiencing rapid technological advances. To this end, students will develop knowledge and skills that will enable them to evaluate the impact of their decisions on local, regional and global issues concerning the economy, personal health and welfare, and the environment. Students completing the biology major will be prepared for entry-level careers in science or to pursue advanced training in graduate and professional schools. To fulfill the mission, the biology curriculum is designed to address seven goals:

  • To provide an understanding of the mechanics, application and limitations of the scientific process
  • Develop an appreciation and understanding of evolution and the diversity of life
  • Demonstrate the relationships between structure, function and energy in living systems
  • Culture an appreciation for the historical development of scientific knowledge
  • Instruct students in effective utilization of discipline-specific information resources
  • Develop technical and analytical skills appropriate to modern biological investigation
  • Enhance both written and oral communication skills appropriate to the discipline

Program Learning Outcomes

Program Goal 1: Provide breadth in biological sciences training by requiring students to take courses in each of the following areas:

PLO 1.1: Cell Structure, Genetics, Physiology, & Molecular Process Students will demonstrate an understanding of cell structure, genetics, cell physiology and the molecular processes of cells.

PLO 1.2: Organismal Biology Students will be able describe the features which distinguish the Three Domains of life and the developmental and physiological mechanisms which are fundamental to all living organisms.

PLO 1.3: Populations & Ecosystems Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of evolution, and ecology and their relationships to populations and ecosystems.

Goal 2: Provide training in technical & analytical research skills

PLO 2.1: Laboratory Practice & Techniques Students will demonstrate proper laboratory practice, proper use of equipment and the ability to use basic and advanced techniques in several areas of biology.

PLO 2.2: Statistical Analysis Students will demonstrate the ability to perform appropriate statistical analysis of experimental data and draw valid conclusions from their analysis.

Goal 3: Provide training in accessing & evaluating biological information

PLO 3: Critical Evaluation of the literature including journals, periodicals & electronic media Students will demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate journal articles from the primary literature.

Goal 4: Provide training in communication of research findings PLO 4: Scientific writing, including incorporation of research findings Students will demonstrate the ability to produce a paper written in the format of a scientific journal article reporting the results of their own experiment. Students will demonstrate the ability to incorporate the findings of their experimental research into the existing body of knowledge in that area of biology.