The Biology Department's mission is to provide students with an understanding of, and an appreciation for, the living world, including the fundamental mechanisms that underlie all life. Students should understand the ways in which they are affected by living organisms and how their lives in turn have an impact on other living organisms and the biosphere. They should become proficient in the methods of science and aware of the processes that lead to discoveries in science. In course work, they should develop observational, analytical and communication skills, regardless of their chosen career path. Ultimately, biology is best understood by active involvement with organisms and the systems of life in laboratory and field settings, and in collaborative student-faculty research.