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About the Department

Students on a field trip
Ashley Seagroves in lab
Student working in molecular biology lab
Students at a field site in Chihuahuan Desert
Graduate students and advisor standing in river
Tree frog from Ecuador
Study-abroad students in Ecuador
Horned lizard in palm of hand
Student presenting research findings at a scientific conference

Welcome to the Department of Biology at Texas State University. We are a large, multidisciplinary department with many strong, well-funded research programs. We serve about 25,000 students each year in modern facilities with up to date instrumentation emphasizing inquiry-based hands-on instruction. In 2017-18 Biology had just over 2,000 undergraduate students and 150 graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) students.

Our goal is to attain national and international prominence through the integration of undergraduate and graduate education with multidisciplinary research programs. Through our education, scholarship, and outreach activities, the department enhances the image of the university by using the life sciences to help meet current and future needs of society.

Mission

To advance the life sciences through research and to educate and prepare the next generations of scientists, educators, professionals, and scientifically literate citizens. 

Vision

To strengthen the national and international recognition of the Department’s research and degree programs.  


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  • The following goals give direction to the Department of Biology mission, and recognize that scholarship and service support aid are the primary focus of teaching and learning. We will continue to meet the following goals:

    Academic excellence

    • Broaden doctoral-level opportunities by modifying the existing Ph.D. program and/or adding a second Ph.D. program.
    • Improve and adapt our comprehensive hiring plan with innovative approaches to fulfilling our mission.
    • Offer competitive start-up packages to new faculty hires.
    • Retain faculty members and recruit outstanding job applicants.
    • Increase the representation of women and minorities in the faculty.
    • Support and improve science education at all levels.
    • Balance research with teaching and student mentoring in a manner that makes the best use of the individual academic strengths of our faculty members.
    • Increase the number of postdoctoral scholars in the department.
    • Encourage and support faculty to take advantage of developmental leave, to attend workshops, participate in grant panel reviews, scientific panels and/or explore new approaches to teaching or develop new research directions.
    • Invest in academic networking and research collaboration by hosting seminar speakers and visiting scholars.
    • Enhance and support collaborations within and between departments, across colleges, with other universities, agencies and industry.
    • Promote the development of interdisciplinary research grant applications.

    Facilities and Infrastructure

    • Match increases in faculty and staff numbers with increases in lecture and teaching laboratory space.
    • Renovate and upgrade existing offices, laboratories and other infrastructure.
    • Support and provide staff and resources for service related responsibilities.

    Outreach

    • Encourage, support and promote outreach to schools, agencies, organizations, and alumni – at the department, college and university levels.
    • Allocate resources to managing a departmental website that is engaging, dynamic and informative.
    • Develop and implement strategies to incorporate social media into outreach activities.

    Undergraduate student education and mentoring

    • Support our advising staff in providing personalized guidance through our degree programs.
    • Improve procedures for quantifying learning outcomes and tracking the career development of our graduates. 
    • Evaluate, improve, and optimize undergraduate curricula across all majors.
    • Follow emerging education trends such as BS/MS programs and distance learning and evaluate their fit with our mission.
    • Recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds.
    • Maintain our reputation for practice-oriented, hands-on learning by continuing to support laboratory and field courses.
    • Improve and expand our teaching infrastructure, including the departmental vehicle pool, in step with increasing student enrollment.
    • Facilitate undergraduate research opportunities in faculty research laboratories and off campus.
    • Develop and strengthen our course offerings through the Honors College.
    • Promote and support extracurricular activities such as undergraduate research symposia, clubs, socials and peer-to-peer mentoring.

    Graduate student education and advising

    • Evaluate, improve, and optimize graduate curricula across all majors.
    • Support a diverse portfolio of specialized, graduate-level courses in areas of faculty expertise.
    • Develop and support courses and initiatives in professional development, including teaching and presentation skills, grant proposal writing, scientific outreach and ethical academic conduct.  
    • Recruit diverse and excellent graduate students.
    • Track the career development of our M.S. and Ph.D. graduates.
    • Highlight graduate student accomplishments on the Biology Department website.
    • Provide additional sources of graduate student funding through external grants.
    • Develop additional sources of graduate student funding as a recruitment incentive, and to support Ph.D. students admitted to candidacy.
    • Advocate for increasing the salaries of instructional assistants.
    • Continue to provide support for graduate student travel to present research findings at conferences.
    • Invite and enable the broader participation of graduate students in departmental activities.  

    Departmental resources

    • Increase department resources through faculty efforts to acquire external grant funding, contracts and donations.
    • Encourage faculty to develop multi-investigator research and training grants and support such activities by granting teaching release and travel support to visit with federal program officers.
    • Develop relationships with potential donors, including alumni with the ability to enhance our scholarship and funding base for endowed chairs. 
    • Develop a philanthropy webpage that highlights the academic accomplishments and ambitions of our students and faculty.
  • As priorities, we will continue to accomplish the following:

    1. Advocate for increasing the salaries of instructional assistants.

    2. Renovate and upgrade existing offices, laboratories and other infrastructure.

    3. Maintain our reputation for practice-oriented, hands-on learning by continuing to support laboratory and field courses.

    4. Increase department resources through faculty efforts to acquire external grant funding, contracts and donations.

    5. Match increases in faculty and staff numbers with increases in lecture and teaching laboratory space.

    6. Develop and support courses and initiatives in professional development, including teaching and presentation skills, grant proposal writing, scientific outreach and ethical academic conduct.

    7. Encourage faculty to develop multi-investigator research and training grants and support such activities by granting teaching release and travel support to visit with federal program officers.

    8. Support and provide staff and resources for service related responsibilities.

    9. Recruit diverse and excellent graduate students.

    10. Support a diverse portfolio of specialized, graduate-level courses in areas of faculty expertise.

  • The Chair of Biology will annually provide to the faculty an oral report on progress toward specific goals and announce new initiatives for the coming year. This document will be used as a road map to be discussed at faculty meetings to set the department’s priorities annually.