Biology Overview

Biology Department Mission Statement

The mission of the Biology Department at Hartwick College is to provide students with the opportunity to explore life, from the smallest atoms to the largest ecosystems, within the tradition of the Liberal Arts. We are committed to excellence in our teaching and to giving our students “hands-on” training in Biology. The Biology Department is committed to helping students acquire:

  • knowledge of basic facts and theories in biology,
  • ability to interpret biological knowledge critically,
  • skills associated with hands-on research, and
  • ability to communicate their understanding of biology to others both within and outside of the field.

To achieve this mission, the Biology Department must provide a suitable educational and research environment for students. Therefore, the department has established the following goals:

  1. To provide a comprehensive major.
    Students in the department should complete introductory courses that cover the breadth of the discipline. The major should require all students to take courses in a range of sub-disciplines that span all levels of biological organization.
  2.  To place biological knowledge in context.
    Both majors and non-majors should be introduced to the way biologists solve problems and to the development of biological thought.
  3. To encourage active rather than passive learning.
    Courses should emphasize investigative participation in science. Students should be taught to think critically and to solve problems. Students who have successfully completed appropriate preparatory courses should have the opportunity to pursue independent study and research.
  4. To improve student communication skills.
    Within courses, students should be required to make clear, concise written reports or well-organized oral presentations. Part of the student research experience should include formal writing and public presentation.
  5. To provide an effective system of student advising.
    Students who majoring in biology, a related program, or dual majors should be made aware of the educational objectives, demands, and opportunities of their majors both at Hartwick and in off-campus research experiences, internships and courses. Faculty should help students understand the requirements, opportunities, and expectations of various biological careers.
  6. To provide courses and resources in Biology that prepare students for careers and allow faculty and staff to carry out the Mission.
    The department should provide courses that serve as foundations for subsequent post-graduate education, including medical and graduate school. Each faculty member should teach in the introductory instructional program when possible, but should also have the opportunity to teach advanced level courses in their sub-discipline each year.
  7. To give Faculty the opportunity to participate in research, and to provide research opportunities to students.
    Faculty should engage in active research programs that can include undergraduate participation.  When possible this should include professional presentation of results. Faculty should be provided with adequate space and facilities for student-faculty collaborative research.