Help wanted in the Biology department

Concordia’s biology department will see its course selection and certain areas of research reduced to accommodate the retirement of up to seven professors over the next three years. With funding so far to hire only two new professors at the end of this academic year, students are looking to McGill to finish their degrees.

Concordia’s biology department will see its course selection and certain areas of research reduced to accommodate the retirement of up to seven professors over the next three years. With funding so far to hire only two new professors at the end of this academic year, students are looking to McGill to finish their degrees.
“We’re losing what we call our organismal biologists [those who study the activity of an organism that is subject to changes in its component cells]. Some of the classical courses are being rolled into the bigger areas of research,” said Biology department head James Grant.
The department will be focusing on these bigger areas of research, like ecology and molecular biology (the study of the structure and function of biological molecules) , when they begin the process of hiring two new professors for the end of this academic year.
The department’s shift in focus is already affecting students at Concordia, forcing them to take courses at McGill, either to satisfy their interests, or to fulfill requirements for their degree.
Rory Turner, a fourth-year biology minor who wishes to become a chiropractor after graduation, is unhappy that the department has dropped so many organismal biology courses. He tried to fill the deficit by taking a course at McGill.
“The course is full. Now I’m stuck in an ecology class for next semester, I’m stuck taking a class I’m not interested in ,” he said.
“You’ll always have specific individuals who would like to do this or that course that we may not offer, but that’s true of any department ,” said retiring entomology professor Paul Albert. “The organismal side of things is maybe a declining area, has been for years. there is a danger that area could disappear. ”
Albert doesn’t believe that entomology will be taught at Concordia anymore after he leaves. He said that some students are already upset that he is no longer teaching Insect Behaviour .
“My major concern is that they are getting all these new courses and dropping all their old courses, but they’re not telling anybody about,” said Brian Mader, a graduate student and undergraduate teacher’s assistant, of Concordia’s course calendar.
“The course calendar still says that they offer Histology I, Histology II, Vertebrate Anatomy, Vertebrate Physiology, but all that stuff is gone, Entomology is gone. It’s not offered anymore, but it’s still in the course calendar.”
Mader is taking a course at McGill next semester. “In the winter session there is no variety of courses at Concordia. It’s all molecular classes. There is one Ecology class and I can’t take it because I don’t have the prerequisite.”
Though Mader has been forced to take a course at McGill he does admit that the university is a good place for graduate students, an area of the department Grant would like to see expand.
“No one who gets hired is without a research profile, we don’t get tenure without being active researchers ,” he said . “That means we’re guaranteed to have young, energetic, active researchers, so it will be great for our graduate program.” Adding, “It probably means fewer undergraduate courses taught.”
Both Albert and Grant believe that eventually students will be positively affected by the staff turnover, as long as the department is able to replace the professors. Along with the two new professors the department is hoping to hire this year, Grant plans to hire another two professors by the end of next year, but acknowledges potential problems with funding.
“What would not be great is if the finances in Canada were in such bad shape that we wouldn’t be allowed to hire, then we’d be forced to use part-timers more than we’d want or we’d stop offering courses,” said Grant.

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

Stingers split weekend against Ottawa teams

Next Article

Henry Rollins. What?

Related Posts

Outspoken MP on Lebanon, Syria and the Middle East

Controversial British MP George Galloway took a strong anti-war stance during his speech 'War and Occupation: After Lebanon what comes next?' last Friday at Concordia. Galloway called Canada the world's "baby face" that lost its title when it sent troops to Afghanistan.