A Message from the Chair about the Department Name Change
The Department of Zoology at MSU has grown and evolved quite a bit since 1861, when Manley Miles was appointed the first Professor in the Department of Zoology and Animal Physiology at the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. Over the years, the department has been reorganized repeatedly. After being Zoology and Animal Physiology we were Zoology and Entomology and then Zoology and Geology before becoming the Department of Zoology in 1928. Over the course of this journey we were part of the Cooperative Extension Service, the Applied Science Division and the Biological Sciences Division before settling into the College of Natural Science in 1962. All of these reorganizations were designed to allow the department to better serve the students and faculty at MSU and the people of Michigan, the USA and the world.
As we move through the 21st century, it is time for another reorganization. We are becoming the Department of Integrative Biology – effective 1 July 2015.
This change was initiated by the faculty, supported by the graduate students and approved in accordance with MSU bylaws on Academic Governance. Our reorganization supports President Simon’s call for us to be Bolder by Design.
Why Integrative Biology? “Integrative biology—integrative science—bridges disciplines, and it works within and across levels of biological organization and across diverse taxa over time, short (ecological or physiological) and long (evolutionary).1 “Addressing the challenges of 21st century biology requires integrating approaches and results across different subdisciplines of biology, such as genetics, development, physiology, ecology, and evolution.” 2
If you look at the faculty and grad student profiles on our website you will see that we have already become a department of integrative biology - working across subdisciplines and taxonomic groups, to address 21st century challenges. We can better serve our many constituencies if everyone understands who we are and what we do.
We are building on solid foundations and proud traditions in Zoology and we want to continue to honor our alumni and our history. We will continue to offer a BS and BA in Zoology and a BS in Environmental Biology-Zoology. In addition, we will create a new BS in Integrative Biology.
The name change is effective 1 July 2015 but we will have a lot of work to do before and after then. We will do our best to keep you informed and answer your questions. Please follow our progress on our website and send us your thoughts and suggestions.
Tom Getty, PhD
Chair, Department of Zoology
Michigan State University
1. Wake, M.H. 2008. Integrative Biology: Science for the 21st Century. BioScience 58 (4): 349-353.
2. Robinson, G.E., et al. 2010. Empowering 21st Century Biology. BioScience 60 (11): 923-930.