Mission and Learning Goals

Statement

Our program is designed to help students understand how the sciences of biology and chemistry provide a way to develop an understanding of how living material and processes are constructed, organized, and regulated.  

We seek to show how these two disciplines together, but not separately, can provide such an understanding, since neither a reductionistic approach of explaining life by an understanding of individual molecules, or a global approach of studying entire organisms or systems is sufficient. 

In accord with the Benedictine traditions, we build these biological and chemical foundations in a context that helps students become scientifically responsible citizens, with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will allow them to be successful in their selected professions. We accomplish this by providing students with a variety of learning opportunities such as:

  • Formal courses with integrated laboratories
  • Hands-on experiences with modern instrumentation and computers
  • Research projects
  • Seminar programs

We carry out this mission in an atmosphere of support and encouragement for both students and staff.

The joint Biochemistry major of the Chemistry and Biology Departments of CSB/SJU supports the larger coordinate mission of our institutions. We present the major to:

  • Foster integrated learning, exceptional leadership for change and wisdom for a lifetime.
    If a liberal arts education refers to broad undergraduate studies in the arts and sciences, which, in contrast to prevocational or pre-professional studies, is intended to prepare students for the variety of experiences and occupations they can expect to pursue over the course of a lifetime, the Biochemistry major is liberal arts in the best sense. The integrated learning experience provided by this major is, in effect, broader-based than either Biology or Chemistry alone, and students can be expected to derive even greater employment opportunities in a world where an understanding of the molecular basis of life will be increasingly valued.

  • Provide a unified liberal arts curriculum which focuses on questions important to the human condition, demands clear thinking and communicating and calls forth new knowledge for the betterment of humankind.
    We are living in an unprecedented time in human history as we have in our hands the biochemical texts defining the blueprint for life. The challenge of this century will be to understand that blueprint and how our genome interacts with our environment to produce the creatures that we become. This is an endeavor of incredible magnitude and challenge, and that will require an integration of knowledge from different fields (biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, psychology). The knowledge derived from this effort will certainly impact our concept of self, our relationships to others, and our views of our place in society and in the universe. Can there be more important questions?

  • Provide an integrative environment for learning which stresses intellectual challenge, open inquiry, collaborative scholarship and artistic creativity.
    This truly collaborative, integrated major, will be of the highest intellectual challenge, as articulated above. It will afford our students and our faculty with the chance to perform collaborative research with faculty from both departments. We envision a process in which faculty from both departments will share students who will perform research in integrated laboratory projects, which should foster greater success for all.

Learning Goals & Objectives

Through a variety of learning opportunities, our students will develop:
  1. A knowledge-base necessary to understand the complexities of the biology and chemistry of life,
  2. An ability to integrate their understandings of biology and chemistry at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels,
  3. The technical and intellectual skills necessary to facilitate creative problem solving, and
  4. The attitudes and values that foster a continuing discourse about science and its role our world.