Department of Biological Sciences receives Unit Recognition Award

The Bowling Green State University Department of Biological Sciences was recognized April 14 for its outstanding contributions to education with the Faculty Senate Unit Recognition Award at the Faculty Excellence Awards Ceremony and Reception.

The nomination of the department highlighted several ways in which the department contributes to recruitment, retention and overall student success.

“This cohesive, collegial and proactive set of faculty exhibit the highest standards of educational excellence that has the University’s Core Values at its foundation,” Dr. Jeffrey Miner, professor and chair of the department, wrote in his nomination of the unit.

The Department of Biological Sciences is composed of 31 full-time faculty members who train more than 700 undergraduate majors and thousands of other students through service teaching and who, with their doctoral and master’s students, conduct advanced research affecting society and the environment.

“Teaching the next generation of scientists, professionals and enlightened, engaged citizens is of paramount importance to faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences,” Miner wrote.

Several changes in the program have contributed to the retention of these students, including testing the utility of the Student Success Collaborative, conducting campaigns to identify students at different levels of risk and proactively engaging students to keep them on track and successful in their studies. The department has also been an active participant in the linked courses program.

Additional changes have included instituting a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences, developing specializations and conducting highly active advising programs.

In terms of research, the faculty members of the department generate more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and approximately $1 million in external grant funding each year. Examples of research include environmental microbiology studying harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes, organisms in ancient ice from Antarctica and identification of bacteria that produce toxins against other bacteria. Other research areas include behavioral neuroscience and community ecology.

“This research addresses practical applied problems that face society and the environment now and in the future,” Miner wrote.

The department’s impact extends to active involvement in Preview Day, STEMs Day, the Northwest Ohio Science Olympiad and College Credit Plus.

“I am very proud of the congenial and collaborative working environment among faculty members in Biological Sciences, which makes the business of teaching and research focus pleasurable, constructive and effective,” Miner wrote. “The proactive vision of faculty means that we are always looking for ways to improve our teaching and advancement of science.”