Dear Alumni and Friends,
Welcome to the second edition of our Biological Sciences Alumni Newsletter, a tradition we hope to continue for many years to come!
This past year has been a time of many challenges in the department. COVID-19 has drastically changed how we interact with our students. Many of us have shifted teaching from the classroom to remote presentations, we’ve restricted our travel, and have learned to navigate the many platforms that host online meetings.
For me, the biggest change was taking the reins as chair of the department on January 1. I’m excited to work with such a fantastic group of faculty, staff, and students in our pursuit of excellence in scholarship and research in the biological sciences.
Many of the faculty you may remember have retired. We now have 13 assistant professors who bring a wealth of knowledge and new energy to our department. In addition to cutting edge research, they brought expertise to help us update and enhance our curriculum.
You can read about Dr. Fabienne Poulain’s exciting research in the Spring 2021 newsletter, and I encourage you to visit our departmental webpage, to learn about our other new faculty and their research interests. In response to COVID-19 related challenges, Dr. Andy Schumpert has found inventive ways to make remote learning engaging. We all look forward to a return to in-person classes in the Fall 2021 semester.
In recognition of broader efforts towards equity and inclusion, our department is working hard to promote equality, diversity, equal opportunity, and justice, and to reject racism, discrimination, and prejudice. From a simple statement of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on our web page, to behind-the-scenes efforts on many fronts, we aim to provide a welcoming environment for all people who wish to learn.
As chair, it is my priority to recruit and retain a population of faculty, staff, and students that reflects the diversity of people in our state and in our nation. As alumni and friends of our department, I would love to have you involved in crafting our future. If you know of exceptional young people, please encourage them to consider our department for their education. If you have expertise that you are willing to share, please contact us. Together, we can develop the next generation of truly exceptional Gamecock Biologists!
Tammi L. Richardson, Ph.D.