Since its conception in 1992 following the merging of Botany and Zoology along with elements from Geography and Geology, the Department of Biology continues to thrive. Under the previous leadership, resources were provided to incumbent faculty and new faculty were recruited to provide a vibrant research-engaged learning environment for our students. Consequently, our students receive the latest information and research experiences to be competitive for the next phase of their careers.
As with any vibrant and large research-intensive learning program, sustained adequate funding for student stipends, teaching, and graduate fellowships is a huge challenge. Funding students’ assistantships and stipends benefits the Department in several ways: 1) increases student success following graduation; 2) expands faculty research capacity; and 3) allows for leveraging additional funding. Consequently, a major goal is to increase the Department’s budget such that we can provide every student that qualifies for assistantships and stipends to receive such funds. However, achieving this requires a team effort; it requires, students, faculty, staff, community members, alumni, and friends to contribute time, effort, and funds. In the next several weeks we will be soliciting help from all our respective constituents in order to meet immediate Department budget needs as well as to establish an endowment fund as a perpetual source of Department operating funds.
It is an honor to be a part of the Bison community and the new Department Chair. I am following behind a long list of brilliant and accomplished Department leaders. However, I am confident that with the help of everyone (students, faculty, staff, alumni, community, and friends of the Department) we will be able to build on the legacy of previous leaders and continue to move the program forward.
In truth and service,
Mildred A. Pointer, PhD, FAHA
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