Illinois College -> Academics -> Academic Majors and Departments -> Biology


What is distinctive about a Biology major at Illinois College?

Students who desire to major in biology look forward to small class sizes, individual attention and access to research.  The faculty within this department maintains high expectations for all of their students.  They are committed to working with students to develop their individual strengths. The foundation of the Biology curriculum stresses that students be well rounded, studious, ethical and realistic. Faculty build their classes around those characteristics and provide students with a broad background in biology such that they are well-prepared to enter a variety of fields upon graduation. 

Students will find even introductory courses to be both challenging and enjoyable.  Faculty have high standards for their courses, but they also are ready to assist students at any time.  The department itself functions as a "family", with each professor representing one or more subdisciplines of Biology.  This diversity of faculty expertise and interest offers students a wide range of courses and prepares them well for the workplace, graduate school, and professional schools.

What opportunities are available for students?

Research Opportunities: Over 20% of the students in the biology program participate in undergraduate research.   The new state-of-the-art Parker Science Building allows students to have access to research labs adjoining a faculty member’s office.  This arrangement allows them to work in conjunction with a faculty member on their specific research interests.  Current research projects focus on the preservation of endangered species of orchids; regeneration of octopus arms, and DNA repair in chromatin assembly and remodeling.   

Beta Beta Beta:  Illinois College is the home of the Iota Xi chapter of Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society. The purpose of Tri Beta is to allow students who are pursuing a career in the biological sciences to be exposed to a wide range of professions, fields of study, career opportunities and how they relate to society.  This objective is accomplished by field trips to different biology centers and by hosting speakers from various fields of study.

Special Course Offerings:

The Biology Department offers two courses which feature laboratory experiences in different environments.  Marine Biology, taught by Drs. Bennett and Zettler, includes a week of investigation and discovery in the Florida Keys.  Tropical Ecology, taught by Dr. Zettler, takes students to Costa Rica for experience with tropical flora and fauna.

Individual Advising from Biology Faculty

Upon declaring a biology major, students are assigned to an academic advisor in the department.  Advisors have regular contact with their students both in and out of class and assist them in course scheduling and career preparation.  This relationship also informs the letters of recommendation for students in the next phase of their careers.

Health Professions

Biology Graduates: Where are they now?

After graduating from Illinois College, biology students have pursued many different avenues in the areas of medicine, conservation, industry, education, and research. Each year over 50% of our biology graduates continue their education in professional or graduate programs at institutions such as:

:: Washington University in St. Louis
:: Vanderbilt University
:: University of Illinois
:: Creighton University
:: SIU School of Medicine
:: SIU School of Dentistry
:: University of Florida
:: Emory University
:: Rush Medical School
:: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
:: Clemson University
:: University of Wisconsin - Madison
:: Purdue University
:: University of Iowa
:: St. Louis University
:: University of Minnesota
:: University of Pennsylvania  
Other Illinois College biology graduates have been employed by Abbott Laboratories, Sigma Chemical, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Illinois State Police, Memorial Medical Center, the Centers for Disease Control and the Jacksonville, IL School District and the Galesburg IL School District among others.

Starhill Forest Arboretum

Guy and Edie Sternberg
In October 2008 Guy and Edie Sternberg formalized their partnership with Illinois College, creating the College’s official arboretum. The German to English translation of Sternberg is Starhill.
Guy and Edie Sternberg and Starhill Forest Arboretum were featured in the April 2009 Illinois College Quarterly. Starhill Forest is located five miles southeast of Lincoln’s New Salem in southern Menard County, Ill., 45 minutes east of campus. Guy and Edie offer lectures about oaks, historic trees, native trees and other tree-related topics, tailored for any audience level. They also offer a digital, online Herbarium.
Starhill Forest Arboretum is featured in an article, A Teaching Forest, in the Illinois Times.

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