Cal Poly Pomona

P&R Responses for recommendation 90

Recommendation 90
Department Biological Sciences
Consensus Opinion 32 out of 37 faculty/staff : With modifications
Consensus Explanation Recommendation 90. Botany. Merge or discontinue.

Recommendation 90 calls for a merger of Botany with either Biology or with a new Center for Environmental Sciences. The members of the Biological Sciences Department strongly support the recommendation to merge the Botany program with Biology. In fact, we have a proposal, currently in review with the College of Science Curriculum Committee, to merge our Biology, Zoology, Botany, and Microbiology majors into a single Biology major with options. The members of the Biological Sciences Department are against merging the Botany program with a new Center for Environmental Sciences or discontinuing the Botany program.

Arguments for the merger of Botany with Biology:

• With the discovery of unifying principles across multiple levels of biological organization, the questions being addressed within biology are becoming increasingly interrelated and interdependent. Many of the important fundamental questions in biology apply equally well to plants, animals, and other organisms. For this reason, fruitful collaboration among biologists of different subdisciplines is more common than ever before, and the teaching and research tools being used by botanists are merging with those used by zoologist and microbiologists.
• The cross-disciplinary nature of biology has been strongly 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 botany with other subdisciplines in biology.
• A more unified Biology program would 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. The unified program will also reduce redundancy and promote efficiency in our clerical and technical staff.

Arguments against a merger of Botany with a new Center for Environmental Sciences:

• Although collaborations and interactions between the existing colleges should be encouraged, the proposed restructuring is not required to accomplish this. Successful inter-college programs such as the Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI) and the Master’s program in Regenerative Studies clearly demonstrate that a merger of colleges is not necessary to foster productive interactions.
• Botany includes genetics, evolution, cell and molecular biology, biotechnology and developmental biology in addition to environmental science. Botany therefore has stronger affinities with biology than with programs in other colleges that include environmental components.
• The recommendations did not provide a cost analysis, and we could not identify any savings in resources or removal of redundancies by joining Botany with a new Center for Environmental Sciences. Splitting the Biological Sciences Department into three schools would more likely result in increased administrative costs.

Arguments against discontinuing Botany:

• The study of plants complements all of the other areas of research in the Biological Sciences Department.
• Botany offers important support courses for several departments in the College of Agriculture.
• Botany majors have a high graduation rate so elimination of Botany would hurt some of the most academically successful students in the department.
• Botany courses and associated labs are less expensive than most other biology courses.
Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

Recommendation 90
Department College of Science Curriculum Committee
Consensus Opinion 6 out of 6 faculty/staff : Pro
Consensus Explanation 90 Botany

After considering the structure of the College Curriculum we concur with this suggestion, and have started to implement it.

Minority Opinion NA out of NA faculty/staff : NA
Minority Explanation

Recommendations not submitted through the forms are available in this folder. They mainly consist of Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat documents. If none were submitted for this recommendation, the folder will be empty.