Executive Summary of the Biology Department Review (Fall 2014)

After completing a very thorough and extensive self‐study, the Department of Biology was reviewed by a committee consisting of two external members and one internal member not associated with the department. In addition to reviewing the self‐study and related documents, the committee conducted an on‐site visit which included meeting with all full‐time faculty and lab instructors, a number of Biology students, and various members of Redeemer’s administration.

The Biology Department has much to celebrate including a dedicated and gifted staff. This hard-working group of individuals has put together a degree program that is producing capable graduates who are successful in finding careers in biology and related fields. Both the current students and alumni give the faculty high praise for the personal concern and overall quality of the program. The department has developed an active research culture both among faculty and students. Over the years a number of focused opportunities have been created for student engagement in research both during the academic year and over the summer. The Greenhouse, Whaley Teaching Garden, and natural reclamation area are fabulous resources supporting many different activities central to Redeemer such as undergraduate research opportunities, art, reflective practice, and spiritual meditation. These three areas add immensely to the educational and spiritual environment of Redeemer and the quality of the biology programming.

The Biology Department has the opportunity to build on its strengths by reconfiguring its program and course offerings along with a “scaffolding of concepts” model. Such a model will not only streamline the program, but it will also achieve some efficiencies in the lab requirements without compromising the department’s commitment to first‐hand learning. The positive findings and constructive recommendations of the report indicate that this department will continue to offer relevant and sustainable biology programs into the future.