Mission & Philosophy
We strongly believe in the value of each person with whom we interact, especially our students, and treat each with respect and dignity. We, by desire, get to know many of our students personally. We are committed to giving the extra effort necessary to help each of our students to reach their potential.
As a department we teach broad-spectrum biology, exposing our students to all aspects of the discipline under 3 generalized areas including: 1) the molecular, cellular and genetic basis for life; 2) whole organisms (microbes to plants and animals) and their structure and function; and 3) the evolutionary processes that link all life forms and the ecological principles and ecosystems they produce.
All of this takes place in the context of the place of humanity in the natural world, a great books seminar tradition, and a robust liberal arts underpinning.
We strongly believe in the principle of experiential learning, saturating our students with hands-on experimental opportunities, both in formal classes and through directed laboratory and field research opportunities and independent study.
We are committed as a faculty to our own continual growth as persons and scientists, and believe such growth enhances our classroom and other engagements, with our students and each other. To that end we strive to keep our research/scholarship active and vital, participate in sub discipline-specific professional conferences, engage in primary research activities, and publish books, in journals and in popular literature venues.
We believe in the value of, and wholeheartedly support through active participation, a broadly defined liberal arts education with much cross-disciplinary instruction and thinking. We support and contribute to Collegiate Seminar as well as the Integral Program, and view these as uniquely defining for Saint Mary’s College. We equally support the non-discipline constrained and creative enterprise of the January Term Program of study.