The primary goal of the Department of Biology is to provide undergraduates with extensive, contemporary knowledge of life science in the context of a rigorous liberal arts education. Our curriculum provides a variety of programs that address the diverse biological careers found in our world of change. Creative teaching, an open collegial environment, and diverse forums such as a colloquium series, independent study, field trips, and student clubs help us achieve this goal.
We strongly believe that every student of biology (professors and undergraduates!) must be a creative scholar who actively participates in the acquisition and communication of knowledge. We encourage students to participate, with their mentors, in a variety of scholarly activities so that they better appreciate the substance and challenge of biology.
Biology at Millersville has a long history of academic excellence starting with the founding of the Millersville Academy in 1854. Shortly thereafter, in December of 1859, the academy was transformed into Pennsylvania's first normal school. In 1928, Millersville Normal School became a state teacher's college and was empowered to grant the BS degree in education. In 1959, Millersville State Teachers College became Millersville State College, and the transformation was associated with expansion of the institution's liberal arts programs. In July 1983, Millersville State College became Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
The Millersville institutions, whatever their names, were fortunate to have gifted and dedicated professors to guide the development of science programs during the formative years. The most renowned of these individuals was Dr. H. Justin Roddy, an internationally known naturalist for whom one of our science buildings is named. In 1949, the college was organized into departments and Dr. Arthur H. Gerhart, a botanist, became the first chair of the Science Department. By 1958, a biology section was formed within the Science Department. Dr. Alex Henderson was appointed coordinator of this section with a staff of six biologists. In 1967, the large Science department was separated into four individual departments and Dr. Henderson became biology's first chair.
In recent years, the department and its offerings have grown tremendously. We offer bachelor's programs in traditional liberal arts biology as well as options in teacher education, marine biology, ecology, molecular biology, medical technology, nuclear medicine technology and respiratory therapy. In addition we provide pre-professional concentrations in podiatry, optometry, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.
Today the department consists of 19 full-time faculty members, several adjunct faculty, a lab manager, two secretaries and approximately 700 students who have chosen biology as their undergraduate major.