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Department of Biological Science

The Department of Biological Science at TU prepares graduates for the challenges of a rapidly-changing science while developing the skills needed to excel in writing and science literacy, ethical reasoning, critical thinking and communication, and the ability to adjust to modern society’s complex technological components.

All programs can be customized to suit a student’s individual education and career objectives. Our flexible degree options are enhanced by personalized advising, small class sizes, easily-accessible professors and motivated student peers.

Alumni
Our alumni have established themselves in the fields of medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, organismic biology, molecular and cellular biology and ecology. From genetic laboratories to public health organizations, our graduates leave campus well equipped to work in many areas of biological science. Many alumni have chosen to continue their education at other prestigious graduate schools around the world.

Tri-Beta Honor Society

Beta Beta Beta

Biological science students with eligible academic records are invited to join the national biological honor society Beta Beta Beta. Tri-Beta was founded in 1922 at Oklahoma City University. The idea of an honor and professional society for biology students spread quickly, and by 1925, the society was a national organization. Biennial national conventions of students and faculty began that same year. In 1930, the society’s journal, BIOS, began publication of student research, articles of interest to biologists and society news. As the society grew, it was divided into regional and district groups. At the heart of every district and national meeting are student research papers and posters presented in the style of professional meetings. Students are recognized for their outstanding individual and chapter accomplishments.

The Local Chapter

The national constitution provides a framework for chapter activities, but each chapter is free to function in accordance with its own needs and school philosophy. A national officer visits each prospective chapter as part of the application process. Chapter programs typically include guest speakers, reports of research by members and department faculty, field trips, maintenance of collections, community service and social gatherings. A faculty adviser provides continuity and experience to the student members.

TU’s chapter, Pi Alpha, joined the national organization in 1979 and competes annually in the Southcentral Regional Tri-Beta convention.

Application for the TriBeta chapter at TU.

For more information about Tri-Beta, please contact:
Karen McMahon, faculty adviser and biological science instructor
Oliphant Hall 230
918-631-3129
karen-mcmahon@utulsa.edu
National website: www.tri-beta.org

Alpha Epsilon Delta

Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) is the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in preprofessional health scholarship, including medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry, physician assistant and other health professions. The objective of AED is to stimulate an appreciation of the health professions through the activities of the society’s local chapter.

The society welcomes all students engaged in the pursuit of a professional healthcare career. AED offers opportunities for intellectual and professional development and provides a forum for students with common interests. For more information, please contact:

Dr. Mark Buchheim, Professor of Biological Science
College of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Oliphant Hall 312
918-631-3797
mark-buchheim@utulsa.edu

Biological Science Seminar Series

Each semester, the Department of Biological Science hosts a seminar series featuring biology faculty from TU and other prestigious universities across the country. These lectures encompass the far-reaching areas of biology and take a closer look at today’s most compelling research projects in the discipline. All seminars are held in TU’s Oliphant Hall, Room 300, Fridays, 3-4 p.m., and are free and open to the public.

American Association for the Advancement of Science Statement on the Teaching of Evolution

Evolution is one of the most robust and widely accepted principles of modern science. It is the foundation for research in a wide array of scientific fields and, accordingly, a core element in science education. The AAAS Board of Directors is deeply concerned, therefore, about legislation and policies recently introduced in a number of states and localities that would undermine the teaching of evolution and deprive students of the education they need to be informed and productive citizens in an increasingly technological, global community. Although their language and strategy differ, all of these proposals, if passed, would weaken science education. The AAAS Board of Directors strongly opposes these attacks on the integrity of science and science education. They threaten not just the teaching of evolution, but students’ understanding of the biological, physical, and geological sciences.

Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called “flaws” in the theory of evolution or “disagreements” within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific “alternatives”” to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to “critically analyze” evolution or to understand “the controversy.” But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one.

Science is a process of seeking natural explanations for natural phenomena. Scientists ask questions about the natural world, formulate hypotheses to answer the questions, and collect evidence or data with which to evaluate the hypotheses. Scientific theories are unified explanations of these phenomena supported by extensive testing and evidence. The theory of evolution, supported by extensive scientific findings ranging from the fossil record to the molecular genetic relationships among species, is a unifying concept of modern science. Of course, our understanding of how evolution works continues to be refined by new discoveries.

Many of the proposed bills and policies aim explicitly or implicitly at encouraging the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in science classes as an alternative to evolution. Although advocates of Intelligent Design usually avoid mentioning a specific creator, the concept is in fact religious, not scientific. In an October 18, 2002 resolution, the AAAS Board underlined the inappropriateness of teaching Intelligent Design in the science classroom because of its “significant conceptual flaws in formulation, a lack of credible scientific evidence, and misrepresentation of scientific facts.” Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania firmly reached similar conclusions in the Dover Area School District case.

The sponsors of many of these state and local proposals seem to believe that evolution and religion conflict. This is unfortunate. They need not be incompatible. Science and religion ask fundamentally different questions about the world. Many religious leaders have affirmed that they see no conflict between evolution and religion. We and the overwhelming majority of scientists share this view.

[Statement adopted by the AAAS Board of Directors, 16 February 2006.]