Undergraduate Catalog 2015-2016

Biological and Environmental Sciences

Indiren Pillay, Chair

Professors: Dave Bachoon, Andrei Barkovskii, Bob Chandler, Melanie DeVore, Mike Gleason, Ashok Hegde, Al Mead, Dennis Parmley, Ken Saladin, Chris Skelton, and Tom Toney

Associate Professor: Ellen France, Kalina Manoylov, Sam Mutiti, Indiren Pillay, and Caralyn Zehnder

Assistant Professors: Gretchen Ionta, Kasey Karen, Allison VandeVoort, and David Weese

Senior Lecturer: Kwan Christenson and Emily Parrish

Instructors: Leeann Kelley, Christine Mutiti, and Lori Robinson

Department Contact Information:

Georgia College

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences

Campus Box 81

Milledgeville, GA 31061


Biological and Environmental Sciences Website: http://www.gcsu.edu/biology/index.htm

Chair, Indiren Pillay, indiren.pillay@gcsu.edu

Office Coordinator, Judith Sanders, judith.sanders@gcsu.edu

Administrative Assistant, Devonshay Smith, devonshay.smith@gcsu.edu




The Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences supports the liberal arts mission of Georgia College. The faculty endeavor to provide challenging and rewarding programs for undergraduate Biology and Environmental Sciences majors, core students, and graduate students alike. Rigorous course work is intended to instill an appreciation for critical thinking, the scientific method, and the role of science in our technologically oriented society. All departmental majors will receive thorough instruction in the scientific process and interpretation of scientific data along with experimental design and experience with modern instrumentation. All graduates will exhibit proficiency in both oral and written communication. The BS in Biology will provide students with a sound understanding of cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, evolution, and ecology. The BS in Environmental Science will prepare students to explore the interrelationships between human and natural systems and to think critically and analytically in order to solve the environmental problems facing our society. Our graduates will be well prepared for pursuing careers and advanced degrees in the field of biology and environmental sciences. Research opportunities are available at the undergraduate (biology and environmental science majors) and graduate (biology) levels. The faculty view active research as an effective teaching tool. Graduates of the programs will be well trained, have a broad perspective on current biological and/or environmental science topics and concerns, and have field and laboratory experience that will make them competitive in the job market or well prepared to continue their education.

Student Success

Earning a college degree is a significant milestone in one's life and requires dedication to one's studies and tremendous effort to succeed. In order to enable students to achieve this goal, we have dedicated ourselves to developing measures that help ensure student success in our department's programs. This process begins with the First-Year Academic Seminar (BIOL 0001 or ENSC 0001), in which students are introduced to the faculty and students who make up the departmental community. First-year students will get an overview of the subject matter covered in the major, explore career possibilities, and to develop techniques for getting the most out of college courses and activities. Students will also learn about departmental and University expectations, policies, and resources. Because the college experience at Georgia College is more intense than at many other schools, we have designed the curriculum to help in each step of the way. In addition, we are committed to offering the courses necessary to ensure that students who follow the program of study will graduate in four years.

Career Information

The Biology and Environmental Sciences majors are designed to give students flexibility to prepare for a variety of career or graduate education tracks. Special advisement is provided to those who plan to enter education and professional schools to help students meet prerequisites for those programs. Internships afford majors the opportunity to learn by working for an industry, agency, or institution in a scientific capacity.

Department graduates usually go into one of four career tracks: industry, for example as microbiologists, food and drug technologists, environmental consultants, laboratory technicians, biotechnologists and scientists; state and federal government, for example as entomologists, environmental scientists, plant pathologists, zoo curators, horticulturists, agronomists, fisheries, wildlife and forest conservationists; or professional self-employment as physicians, veterinarians, dentists, optometrists, environmental attorneys, landscape architects; or K-16 educators, from the junior high school to college level. A small number of graduates pursue careers as academic scientists becoming faculty at masters and doctoral degree granting institutions.

A biology or environmental science degree qualifies graduates for immediate entry into some of these careers and enables them to qualify for others (especially in government and industry) with little additional work. The degree also qualifies graduates to apply to professional schools (i.e. medicine), graduate schools, and higher-level jobs in government and industry.

Teacher Certification

Students who plan to pursue teacher certification through GC's Four-Plus-One program, which allows the student to receive both certification and a master degree in one extra year of study, should receive a B.S. in biology first. In addition the department recommends that you become engaged as an undergraduate in programs that provide you teaching experience (e.g. the Early College program) in order to start making contacts in the John H. Lounsbury College of Education and to learn more about this Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree. Students who plan to pursue teacher education are encouraged to take the following courses: ASTR 1000; BIOL 4010, CHEM 1211, CHEM 1212, CHEM 3010, CHEM 4211, ENSC 1000, GEOL 1121, GEOL 1122, IDST 2405, PHSC 4010, PHYS 1111, PHYS 1112, PHYS 2211, PHYS 2212.

Students aspiring to earn a M.A.T. degree with a concentration in biology should take the two GACE Content Assessment tests in their senior year. There are separate tests for teaching life sciences in middle grades or in high school. Information on registering for the GACE tests is available at www.gace.nesinc.com. Both GACE content tests must be passed to obtain teacher certification in Georgia for teaching biology in grades 6-12. Students may also need to pass GACE Reading, Mathematics, and Writing tests for admission to the M.A.T. program and for Georgia certification.

For more information about the M.A.T. program and admission requirements, contact Shanda Brand, Graduate Admissions Advisor for the College of Education, 228-G Kilpatrick Hall, (478) 445-1383 or shanda.brand@gcsu.edu

The David J. Cotter Undergraduate Research Program

The David J. Cotter research program was established to offer mainly first and second year Georgia College biology and environmental science majors the opportunity to participate in research being conducted by individual faculty members.  The program offers a student research experiences outside the traditional classroom setting.  While being mentored by a faculty member, a student will actively participate with a professor in a research project.  For example, this experience will expose the student to the designing and implementation of a research project to include collection and interpretation of data, manuscript preparation, and the experience of presenting the research at a scientific meeting or research conference.


Who is eligible for the program?  Biology and environmental science majors at the freshmen or sophomore level.


How may a student enter the program? The opportunity to do research with a biology or environmental science faculty member is limited to the number of students the faculty member is able to accommodate as well as the student meeting a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5.  Thus, selection is a competitive process and every student may not be able to participate.  However, when spaces are available:

  1. A student may be invited by a professor to work on a project.
  2. A student may approach a faculty member who is involved in an area of research that is of interest to him/her.  The student will then schedule an appointment with a faculty member to discuss the possibility of working with them.  If a project is agreed upon, the professor will discuss what the research will involve in terms of student commitment and expected outcomes.

What is expected of the student? 

  1. Students are expected to fulfill their obligations regarding the commitment of time and dedication required to conduct the approved research project.  This includes being punctual and reliable in attending meetings with the professor.
  2. Students submit a written report to the major professor at the end of the project.
  3. Students must present research results at the GC Student Interdisciplinary Research Conference and/or at an appropriate scientific meeting.  A publication in an appropriate scientific journal may substitute for an oral presentation.