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Miami University
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Trustees approve consolidation of two departments into new biology program


Miami University trustees today (Dec. 7) voted to consolidate the departments of botany and zoology into one department, the department of biology, beginning with fall semester 2013, with the new major in biology.

The botany and zoology faculty, their chairs and dean, University Senate, Provost Bobby Gempesaw and President David Hodge supported the move. The merger will not affect the master’s or doctoral programs in botany, zoology or microbiology.

"The consolidation of the two departments will allow the new biology department to enhance recruitment of students, achieve efficiencies in staffing and course offerings, and enhance collaborations among faculty," said Gempesaw.

"I think it is particularly beneficial to students because it is so forward looking; we are being proactive and anticipating change, ensuring Miami University is a leader in higher education preparing our students to be successful in the future," said Phyllis Callahan, dean of Miami's College of Arts and Science.

Trustees approved a new fee for students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science of $300 per semester starting for freshmen in fall 2013. Miami is the last four-year public university in Ohio with an engineering school to assess a fee specific to the school. The fee will help Miami continue to attract and retain high-quality faculty for its design approach that necessitates lower student-to-faculty ratio and to maintain up-to-date lab and computer equipment — factors that mean engineering programs cost more than many other majors.

Trustees heard a report from chairs of Miami's 2020 Plan, Phyllis Callahan, dean of the College of Arts and Science, and James Kiper, chair of University Senate and chair and professor of computer science and software engineering. There are five Target Goal Teams meeting regularly and working to accomplish enhancements in a variety of academic, business and workplace areas of the university.

Trustees also:

  • Authorized the awarding of contracts for the renovation of Anderson and McFarland residence halls for an amount not to exceed $20 million.

  • Approved a spending distribution formula for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

  • Recognized Judith Sessions, dean of the Miami University Libraries, who is retiring, for her contributions to Miami, Ohio and the nation in areas of information storage and access, resource sharing, high-tech facilities, policies and academic integrity, among others.

  • Recognized Roger Jenkins, retiring dean of the Farmer School of Business, whose leadership continuously lifted the accomplishments and profiles of the Farmer School with numerous national recognitions; expanded opportunities for students to study abroad, meet with business leaders and work with professional client companies; and raised the level of private gifts to the Farmer School for scholarships, a new LEED-certified building and learning technologies; among other accomplishments.

  • Awarded the rank of emeriti/emerita to several retiring faculty and staff.

Trustees elected new officers for the next calendar year. Sharon Mitchell will serve as board president; David Budig will serve as vice chair; Dennis Lieberman will be secretary and Mark Ridenour will be treasurer.


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