July 12-13, 2001


NOTICE OF INTENT���������� Authorization to Change the Name of the Biology Option within the Existing Biological Sciences Degree to Organismal Biology Option; Montana State University-Bozeman


THAT:����������������������������������� The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to change the name of the Biology Option within the Existing Biological Sciences Degree to the Organismal Biology Option.


EXPLANATION:����������������� Most professional positions in biology require completion of one or more graduate degrees.� The organismal biology option provides the basic formal background required for application to programs of graduate studies in plant or animal biology at the whole-organism (as opposed to molecular or cellular) level, while allowing students the greatest flexibility in selecting those biology courses which best meet their interests and objectives.� It accomplishes this by leaving 24 of the 44 required credits in biology unspecified.� In addition, students can use the elective credits to develop strength in a second area that may enhance their prospects of gaining employment with a bachelor�s degree or their prospects of acceptance into specialized graduate programs.�


This name change will clarify the choice of department and degree options for undergraduates interested in biology degrees at Montana State University. The former Biology Department re-organized into two new departments in 2000, which created the Cellular Biology and Neuroscience Department and the Ecology Department.� Currently, each of the newly formed departments offers the Biology Option, which creates some confusion for students.� A simple and effective solution will be to separate the former Biology Option into two separate options (one per department with no option sharing between departments) that reflect the distinct emphases of the new departments.� The new Ecology Department continues to have a breadth of faculty expertise in both plant and animal biology similar to that of the former Biology Department and has faculty members experienced in and appropriate for advising undergraduates in a broad-based option.� Thus, the Ecology Department will continue its broad-based option in biology but with a change in title of the degree option to the proposed Organismal Biology Option.� This change will ensure that each degree option is only affiliated with a single department, thus avoiding future confusion for biology students, staff, and faculty.� The option is expected to remain heavily utilized by undergraduates (134 are students currently enrolled in this option within the Ecology Department).� The requirements for the option will remain the same.