GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The Department of Biology at Villanova University is dedicated to teaching undergraduate and graduate students foundational and advanced biological principles from subcellular to ecosystem levels.

Students learn both theoretical and empirical aspects of biology through a diversity of learning formats that include lecture, discussions, laboratory and field study, and research. Each experience provides students with opportunities to develop skills in analysis, synthesis and quantitative reasoning that have broad application in hypothesis testing, critical thinking and interpretation. We are committed to providing our students with a broad education among biological subdisciplines; our majors are required to take laboratory-based courses in cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology. Students also have opportunities to specialize in particular fields by participating in cutting-edge, independent research with faculty mentors.

The field of biology provides many career choices. Through required curricular elements in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics, and advanced biology electives, Villanova's program provides a foundation for graduate study in the biological sciences, health professions, law, education, or business, or a basis for employment in the fields of applied biology, biological research, environmental and health sciences or teaching.

The Department of Biology values a multicultural student body taught by a diverse faculty that is committed to promoting a free exchange of ideas and perspectives. We nurture our students, provide a broad range of laboratory-based courses, and encourage specialization in a particular area of biology; this may be achieved by independent research with a faculty mentor. Students are encouraged to develop a spirit of inquiry and solve problems using higher order learning skills, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking. Biology faculty members are dedicated to conducting high-quality research that advances the knowledge, understanding, and application of biological principles. The breadth and depth of the education we provide in the classroom and the laboratory are essential to train students for a career in a changing world.

The Graduate Programs in Biology is built on the principle that science is a continuing human endeavor that encompasses research, learning and teaching to prepare students for lives of continuing inquiry. The Department of Biology at Villanova University provides research training and advanced coursework in a broad range of the biological sciences. The graduate programs seek to build a diverse, intellectual community that enhances the scholarship of all members. Integral to the scholarship are the interactions at all levels between students, faculty and staff that enhance all aspects of inquiry and promote the exchange of different ideas and perspectives as an essential part of scholarship.

The intellectual community requires of all its members a dedication to excellence in creative and critical thinking, in the analysis and interpretation of existing knowledge, in the execution of descriptive, experimental and theoretical research, in teaching and in communication. Scholarship in the community is directed at improving our understanding of biological systems and processes in all their diversity, and communicating this understanding in the broadest possible ways. Thus, the programs provide intellectual experiences in a diversity of formats: laboratory and field study, seminar and independent study, and teaching. Each provides the student with advanced training to develop technical and problem-solving skills that have broad application.

Goal 1: Students will understand biological patterns and processes from the subcellular to the ecosystem levels. (OR Students will demonstrate learning and mastery of biological patterns and processes from the subcellular to the ecosystem levels.) 

  • Students will learn both foundational principles and advanced concepts across the subdisciplines of cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology.
  • Students will develop technical skills through hands-on experiences in laboratory- and field-based courses.

Goal 2: Students will demonstrate facility to communicate ideas in the language of science through intensive writing and oral presentation.

  • Students will be able to address complex scientific problems and critically examine relevant literature in any field of biology.
  • Students will be able to effectively communicate current viewpoints in written and spoken formats designed for both scientific and public forums.

Goal 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to apply the scientific method through experimentation and deductive reasoning.

  • Students will, through research experiences inside and outside the classroom, demonstrate proficiency in collecting, analyzing and explaining data.
  • Students will attain the practical skills and spirit of inquiry that is relevant to the exploration, selection, and success in different career paths.

The Department of Biology is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in our department and, more broadly, our discipline. We regard diversity to include, but not be limited to, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, first generation status, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, mental health, language/linguistic ability, military status, immigration status, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. 

We believe that:

  • a culture of respect and acceptance for all catalyzes the discovery of new knowledge by bringing different perspectives to the teaching and research enterprises, for only in these open environments can learning and discovery take place,
  • in an equity-conscious community, every member must be supported in their development, advancement, and success, without bias,
  • multiple backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, inherently linked to the composition of our academic community, enrich the teaching, learning, and service environments for faculty, staff, and students alike,
  • the relevance and ingenuity of biological science depend on greater inclusion of underrepresented groups,
  • the application of biological science to promote the common good, and the communication of scientific information to the general public, require a diversity within our scientific community that mirrors the diversity of the world in which we live, and
  • it is imperative to create an inclusive classroom and work environment that has space for diverse voices to bring their ideas to the table, and to express disagreement, in open respectful dialogues that include listening as well as speaking.  

Our Departmental faculty and staff have lacked diversity, a pattern that has been consistent across STEM disciplines and that reflects a history of exclusion and discrimination. We must acknowledge, understand, and reckon with this past. We accept our individual and collective responsibility to combat systemic bias and prejudice, whether implicit or explicit, in the belief that progress will depend on training combined with individual engagement and active work.  We will strive to identify and remove barriers to access, retention, and advancement of our faculty, staff, and students. Our actions will create a welcoming and supportive community that exists within an environment focused on promotion of academic pursuits, teaching, learning, research, and service which allows each individual to achieve their full potential.

Department of Biology
Mendel Hall Room 147 Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085 
Tel: 610.519.4830
Fax: 610.519.7863

Chair:  Dennis Wykoff, PhD
Asst Chair:  Vikram Iyengar, PhD
Graduate Program Director:  Anil Bamezai, PhD