Recommendation 103. Zoology. Stable Funding / Merge.
Recommendation 103 calls for a merger of Zoology with Animal Science, and the combined program to exist within the newly proposed College of Agricultural, Natural & Environmental Sciences. The merger of Zoology with Animal Science is not necessary because members of the Biological Sciences Department have recently recommended the merger of the Zoology program with Biology. In fact, we have a proposal, currently in review with the College of Science Curriculum Committee, to merge Biology, Zoology, Botany, and Microbiology majors into a single Biology major with options in General Biology, Botany, Microbiology, and Zoology.
Here are the arguments for the merger of Zoology with Biology:
• With the discovery of unifying principles across multiple levels of biological organization, the questions being addressed are increasingly interrelated and interdependent. Many of the fundamental questions in biology apply equally well to animals, plants, and other organisms. For this reason, fruitful collaboration among biologists of different subdisciplines is more common than ever, and the teaching and research tools being used by zoologists are merging with those used by microbiologists and botanists.
• The cross-disciplinary nature of biology has been reflected in our recent faculty hires and will be reflected in future hires as well. Our five-year hiring plan is based on integration of zoology with other subdisciplines in biology.
• A more unified Biology program will encourage and support synergies in research and teaching. It would also allow for cost savings through sharing of laboratory and field equipment, the Biological Sciences Advising Center, and our BioTrek facilities, it will reduce redundancy and promote efficiency in our clerical and technical staff.
Here are the arguments against a merger of Zoology with Animal Science:
• As clearly described in the University Catalog, the fundamental objectives and approaches of the Zoology and Animal Science programs differ. Zoology is a basic science that lays the foundation for understanding the evolutionary and phylogenetic relationships of animals, their anatomy, physiology, embryological development, ecology, and other aspects of their biology. Animal Science is a vital applied science, which utilizes knowledge gained from basic scientific studies to produce animals for human food and other human needs. Zoology deals with the entire animal kingdom while Animal Science specializes in the 1% or less of all animal species that are domesticated or have presumed potential for agricultural production. Thus, a merger of Zoology with Animal Science would lead to the erosion of educational quality for both Zoology and Animal Science students.
• The Phase I and II recommendations did not provide a cost analysis, and we could not identify savings in resources or removal of redundancies by joining Zoology with Animal Science. Phase I and II Recommendations would split the current Biological Sciences Department into three divisions within the newly proposed College of Agricultural, Natural, and Environmental Sciences, likely resulting in increased administrative costs and, most importantly, diluted disciplinary focus.