January 20-21, 2000

NOTICE OF INTENT Authorization to Restructure the Biology Department in the College of Letters and Sciences; Montana State University-Bozeman

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman, College of Letters and Science to restructure the Department of Biology, into two departments: 1) the Department of Ecology and 2) the Department Cell Biology and Neuroscience.

EXPLANATION: The field of biology has grown tremendously in the past few decades, in terms of depth and breadth of knowledge required of those involved in the discipline. As biological sciences has expanded dramatically in its scope, modern education requires the expansion of academic curricula along multiple lines.

The current Biology Department has over six hundred students enrolled in four options, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Biology Teaching and Fish and Wildlife Management within the Biological Sciences major. In addition, the Biology Department currently has 50 graduate students in ecology and related areas and a growing number in neurobiology. The faculty, in consultation with biologically-oriented departments in the College of Agriculture and the College of Letters and Science, are planning new and more cohesive curricula to increase the quantity, quality and diversity of courses offered to the Biological Sciences undergraduate. These majors will be served by each of the new departments, which will both design new curricula addressing the specific educational needs of their students. Formation of the new departments will allow the strength in Ecology to be further enhanced and provide the Cell Biology and Neuroscience faculty the opportunity to develop a strong graduate program.

A recent American Association for the Advancement of Science panel of distinguished ecologists invited to review Environmental Sciences at MSU concurs with this recommendation. This recommended restructuring is in accordance with the unanimous wishes of the faculty in the current department.