DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY
 
 
 

XULA Biology Academic Resources

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  • All Biology majors receive Academic Advising, the quality of which is unparalleled.  Sr. Grace Mary Flickinger, a national-level winner for Academic Advising, recognized years ago, the importance of one-on-one advising and nurturing of every student, not only for their smooth transition to Xavier as freshmen but also for their staying on track for their degree completion and their spiritual growth.  Sister served as the Coordinator of Advising until recently and generations of XU Biology majors have benefited from the highly regarded ‘Open Door Policy’ and other processes established by her over 30 years ago.   These procedures have stood the test of time and continue to play a significant role in the many success stories here in Biology.
  • The Biology Department is a pioneer in the College of Arts & Sciences in successfully introducing and optimizing state-of-the-art technology-based teaching tools (personal responses units, LXRTest analysis, on-line quizzes, etc.) for increased student engagement and student learning.  These newer teaching tools enable us to carry out sophisticated analysis of our instruction and assess student-performances throughout the semester, thereby serving as an excellent ‘checks and balances’ mechanism for ensuring no student is left behind and each does his/her best.
  • The department is taking the lead on re-designing and revising our pre-med curriculum to meet the changing 2015 MCAT and to address the growing and urgent national problem of declining African American professionals in the field of medicine.  Under the title ‘PROJECT SCICOMP’ and with the generous support of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) funding of $ 1 million  dollars to the University, Dr. Ireland, Professor and Chair of Biology, is leading the efforts by working with faculty in Biology and other STEM disciplines to implement specific recommendations issued by the Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (SFFP) committee.  A joint venture between the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the HHMI, the SFFP’s goal is to make students more active learners with demonstrated knowledge and ability to apply the principles of biology, mathematics and statistics along with those of computer programs, physics, chemistry and biochemistry to human health and diseases.  To accomplish this, the department willintroduce an array of innovative instructional approaches.  Two new courses in Biology (Biol 1210L and Biol 1220L) have been launched to address self-reported impediments for freshman level success and labs will be revised to include more discovery/research oriented projects such as those in Xavier’s currently HHMI funded ‘Phage Genomics’ course offered in our department.  Several additional pre-med courses will be infused with increased in-class activities, more interdisciplinary content, and exercises to hone students’ computational and critical thinking skills with an emphasis on the application of knowledge as opposed to rote memorization.  Since these strategies are the same that we would have to implement to meet the changing needs for virtually all programs of student-interest, we believe that our new and improved curriculum with its liberal arts base intact, will help all our majors to become more competitive and score well on whichever standardized admissions tests they end up taking (MCAT, GRE, DAT, PCAT etc).    
  • The Biology department prides itself in having state-of-the-art research facilities with the most modern equipment like -150 freezers, ultracentrifuges, microtomes, inverted fluorescence and TIRF microscopes, laminar flow hoods, digital cell counters, gel documentation systems, a Nanodrop spectrophotometer, NEON rapid transfection system, iBlot rapid western blot system, a flow cytometer and Quantitative RT-PCR apparatus to name a few.
  • Equally importantly, the department boasts impressive teaching laboratories associated with their own equipment and supplies.  For example, the department has a fully-operational greenhouse (established through Keck funding) with over 500 sq. feet of space where students learn all about plants and their responses at the molecular level to environmental changes.  Plants serve as an excellent model system to predict what happens in other higher living systems.  We also have tissue culture facilities where students learn how to ‘grow’ normal and cancerous human cells outside of the human body and study the impact of certain medicines on them! 
  • In Biology, our motto is “Biology is Wonderful, Get Involved”!  Our majors are strongly encouraged to get involved in student clubs and/or Honor Societies while keeping their academics as the main priority.   For example, most majors are members of the Biology Club.  In addition, they join the pre-Vet Club, the pre-Dental Club, or associations like the Minority Association for Pre-Health Students (MAPS). etc., depending on their academic interests.  Many strive to seek admittance into Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta), the biological honor society as this is by invitation only.   These clubs and Honor Societies sponsor several community outreach, fund raising and service activities.    
  • Last but not least, the Biology Department has a free resource center for learning, the Biology Resource Center, that is managed by Dr. Monique Cola.  Both Biology and non-Biology majors can receive help and extra tutoring from peer-tutors (selected by a selections committee in Biology) in General Biology 1230 and Biology 1240 lecture and labs.  Assistance in more advanced subjects such as 2000 and 3000 level subjects like Microbiology, Biodiversity and Genetics is offered by experienced instructors who offer one-on-one academic assistance as well as review/recitation sessions for students outside the regularly scheduled classes as service.

 
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EST 1925