Message from the Chair

Dr. Alison Murray, Professor and Acting Chair
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta

Welcome to the Department of Biological Sciences!

We are home to a broad range of research and teaching interests in biology. Our academic diversity - who we are - clearly reflects the origin of our Department, which was founded in 1994 as a product of the merging of five academic units: the Departments of Zoology, Botany, Genetics, Entomology and Microbiology. Our academic interests span scales of organization from molecules to ecosystems, and our taxonomic breadth touches all domains of living things. Another obvious consequence of our coalescence from five Departments is our size - we are a very large Department, comprising approximately 100 academic staff (counting Faculty, Adjuncts and Emeriti), a similar number of support staff, up to 300 full and part-time graduate students and post-docs, 400 Honours and Specialization students, and as many as 500 General Science students graduate every year with major or minor concentrations in Biological Sciences. We are the largest Department in the Faculty of Science, we are larger than half of the Faculties on campus, and we are among the largest Biology Departments in Canada.

The vision statement for the Department of Biological Sciences was the result of a department-wide planning exercise: "Inspire Discovery for a Better World". As biological scientists, inspiring discovery is what we do, and we train and mentor others to discover the wonders of the natural world. The second part of our vision statement is what makes it uniquely biologically aspirational: a better world encompasses the living planet that we and so many other species need to survive.

Our Strategic Plan and vision are founded on these shared values:

Pioneerism and Innovation: We pursue truth, understanding and meaning to solve problems, increase values and respond to faculty, staff and student needs.

We provide a holistic perspective on the research and teaching enterprise of the Department that we support with principled insight, solutions and services.

We meet expectations through our collective and sincere efforts in completing our tasks, initiatives and projects with professionalism and integrity.

We promote a safe, productive and equitable workplace that reflects our shared values.

Our decisions encourage the Department to use collective capabilities to make unique contributions that align with our strategic priorities.