Strategic Planning Document
Strategic Planning Document
June 11, 2015
MISSION AND VISION:
The mission of the department is (1) to create and disseminate new knowledge in the
biological sciences through research, (2) to provide for our majors the highest quality,
nationally recognized, graduate and undergraduate educational programs, (3) to provide
exceptional science training to support the university's general education requirements,
and (4) to contribute expertise in support of science education in the community,
including the use of available resources to improve K-12 science outreach.
The educational goal of our program is to prepare students to pursue advanced and
professional degrees successfully and/or enter the workforce with the tools to continue
life-long advancement, educate voters on scientific policy, and to contribute to our
ever-expanding understanding of biological processes. Our research goals are to build,
expand and/or establish nationally recognized programs, and conduct research that
has both basic and applied value. As such, we serve as a resource for the state and
nation by helping to establish science and environmental policy, and providing economic
development via the active transfer of biological research into practical applications.
The department currently serves approximately 2,039 undergraduate majors, including
873 declared majors in UCAC and UCFY and about 135 graduate students most of whom
are Ph.D. students. There are 59 tenure-track faculty members, 15 instructors, 15
administrative support staff and 3 technical personnel. The department offers undergraduate
degrees in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Microbiology. The department offers
advanced degrees in Biological Sciences and Biochemistry. In addition to teaching
our majors, the department also offers a number of service courses bringing our yearly
SCH to over 57,000. The faculty is organized into three divisions: 1) Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology (BMB); 2) Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology (CDIB);
and 3) Systematics, Ecology and Evolution (SEE). Extramural funding in fiscal year
2013/2014 was about 9.1 million dollars.
Discovery: Maintain, develop and enhance our research programs to create and disseminate new,
cutting edge knowledge in biological sciences and to serve as a resource for economic
development for the state.
- Increase research productivity as shown by the number and quality of publications.
- Increase research productivity as shown by the number of national/international research
- Increase the number of publications by graduate students and undergraduates.
- Increase the number of research presentations by graduate students and undergraduates.
- Increase both research and economic development by increasing the number of grants
and extramural support.
- Increase the department’s association with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center,
especially in the area of bioinformatics and our graduate program
- Modernize and enhance the multiuser facilities on campus such as the microscopy center,
Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (CAMD) and the genomics facility.
- Enhance the visibility of LSU researchers through increased faculty editorial positions
- Enhance the visibility of LSU researchers through professional service by faculty
(review of proposals and manuscripts)
- Enhance the visibility of LSU researchers through increased participation and presentations
at national and international conferences.
- Increase participation of faculty in environmental and scientific issues that face
Louisiana (such as post-hurricane wetlands recovery or the BP oil spill).
- Enhance economic development through patent applications and business ties.
- Hire young faculty who complement our research strengths. Future tenure-track hires
would ideally include structural biology, comparative/integrative physiology, epigenetics,
biodiversity, computational biology and genomic science.
- Target some future hires to areas where NIH funding would be possible would include
those who should be able to secure NIH funding for their research.
- Encourage the submission of more interdisciplinary, multi-investigator proposals.
As we develop areas of expertise we will be in better shape to submit multi-investigator
- Maintain accounting staff to help faculty manage post award success.
- Encourage accounting staff to utilize educational opportunities regarding grant management.
- Enhance the microscopy facility. The migration of the Socolofsky Microscopy Center
to the Shared Instrumentation Facility in the Chemistry and Materials Building has
enhanced our imaging capabilities, but have also provided challenges. We plan to continue
to upgrade our imaging capabilities through multi-user equipment proposals.
- Enhance the animal care facility. We have created a departmental aquatic facility,
which is currently being expanded to accommodate toxicological research on the effects
of the BP oil spill in coastal fish and behavioral physiology. These improvements
should help attract young faculty who will need these facilities.
- Enhance the genomics facility. The recent addition of the Illumina Sequencer greatly
increased our ability to obtain large amounts of sequence data. We will improve this
facility at both the infrastructure and personnel levels.
- Strengthen ties with other research units, such as the Pennington Biomedical Research
Center, , the Center for Computational Technology, the AgCenter and School of Veterinary
Undergraduate Learning: The department if committed to providing challenging and rewarding learning experiences
for our undergraduate majors, our graduate students and for the many students who
take our service courses. We will enhance a faculty-led and student-centered learning
environment that prepares students to pursue advanced and professional degrees successfully
and/or enter the workforce with the tools to continue life-long advancement.
- Increase the retention of students pursuing undergraduate degrees within the department.
- Increase the number of students who engage in an undergraduate research experience.
- Increase the percentage of students who complete their degree in 4 years.
- Increase the number of students with strong skills in critical thinking, creative
problem solving, and effective communication.
- Increase the number of students pursuing advanced and professional degrees.
- Ensure that the service courses provide an engaging and stimulating learning environment
- Support programs aimed at improving success and retention of Biological Sciences majors
during their freshman year (BIOS, BioSpring, involvement in the College of Sciences
- Support professional development programs that enhance faculty teaching effectiveness
(National Academies Gulf Coast Summer Institute)
- Sustain and promote undergraduate research experiences such as encouraging faculty
to mentor students in BIOL 3999 and to include REU experiences in their research programs
and supporting the HHMI and REU programs.
- Expand offerings of CxC courses and student exchange opportunities
- Improve tracking of undergraduate majors
- Increase the number of sections offered for high demand courses
- Increase the number of students in our education concentration
- Work to modernize and upgrade our teaching laboratories
Graduate Learning: Improve our graduate education program, while maintaining our strengths in structural
biology, conservation biology and biodiversity.
- Improve the percentage of our graduate students who complete their degree, particularly
increase the percentage of students who finish in six years or less.
- Increase the number of graduate students with independent funding
- Maintain our ability to support all of our incoming graduate students and maintain
our ability to support them throughout their studies.
- Work to promote and increase diversity in our graduate program
- Work to recruit more graduate students from Louisiana
- Determine the stipend levels and benefits provided to graduate students at our peer
- Expand tracking of graduate students
- Expand course offerings for graduate students
- Make sure that all Ph.D. students have completed their qualifying exam by the end
of their first year and their General exams by the end of their third year.
- Maintain better tracking and communication with students who have completed their
- Develop a questionnaire for finishing students
- Develop new seminar and special topics courses
- Submit proposals for training grants
Diversity: The department is committed to providing an environment that promotes a diverse student,
faculty and staff community. Strengthen the intellectual environment by broadening
the cultural diversity of the Department of Biological Sciences
- Increase the percentage of women and under-represented minorities on the faculty
- Increase the percentage of under-represented minorities in our graduate and undergraduate
- Maintain our good distribution of men and women in our graduate and undergraduate
- Strengthen our international research ties
- Increase the diversity of our faculty
- We have had some success with recruiting under-represented minorities into our graduate
programs having graduated six African-American Ph. D.’s in the past three years. However,
recruitment of new students has been slow, and we need to proactively recruit minority
- Apply for fellowships designed to attract minority students into our program
Engagement: The department will work to improve K-16 STEM education in Louisiana. We will work
to cultivate relationships with regional schools, governments and industry. Promote
the engagement of faculty, staff and students in the transformation of communities
- Obtain funding for educational outreach programs for high school and college science
teachers and faculty.
- Increase availability of web-based educational sites in the department, the Museum
of Natural Science and the LSU Herbarium.
- Promote the continued commitment to the curation and enhancement of our nationally
and internationally recognized natural history collections in the Museum of Natural
- Promote the continued commitment to the curation and enhancement of our herbarium
outreach events/forums and written publicity to improve public visibility of our collection
- Continue our programs for educational and research training through programs such
as GCSI, INBRE, LBRN and HHMI.