THE BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF LORAS COLLEGE

A Brief History

Joseph E. Kapler Professor Emeritus

CONTENTS

PREFACE...................................................................................................................i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.................................................................................................ii
EARLY HISTORY.........................................................................................................1
THE HOWELL ERA.......................................................................................................1
THE POST-WORLD WAR II PERIOD TO YEAR 2000..........................................................2
PHOTOGRAPHS..........................................................................................................6
LONG-TERM FACULTY................................................................................................15
THE EVOLUTION OF COURSES....................................................................................17
BIOLOGY MAJORS.....................................................................................................21
HEALTH SCIENCE PROGRAM.......................................................................................22
Health Science Club..................................................................................................23
RESEARCH...............................................................................................................24
Environmental Research Center..................................................................................25
Forebrain Development Studies in Amphibians.............................................................27
Freshwater Diatom Culture Collection...........................................................................27
Pollen Record Studies and Dynamics of Giant Reed Grass..............................................28
Student Research Awards...........................................................................................28
CONTRACTED RESEARCH PROJECTS............................................................................29
EDUCATIONAL/INSTRUCTIONAL GRANTS......................................................................29
MEDICAL ASSOCIATES HEALTH PLANS RECOMBINANT DNA LABORATORY...........................30
FUNDING FROM EXTERNAL SOURCES............................................................................30
SPECIAL RECOGNITION..............................................................................................31
The Rev. Msgr. John W. Howell, A.M............................................................................31
The Rev. Warren E. Nye, Ph.D....................................................................................33
The Rev. William C. Kunsch, A.M................................................................................37
Gerald W. Kaufmann, Ph.D........................................................................................42
WHAT LIES AHEAD?...................................................................................................45
ILLUSTRATIONS.......................................................................................................46

PREFACE
I have been intending to compile a history of the Biology Department for some time, but have always found it easy to tell myself that next year was the time to do it. The years have come and gone, and indeed the century and the millennium have gone (at least by midnight, December 31, 2000). The unexpected death of Professor Gerald Kaufmann and the subsequent change in personnel was a stimulus to proceed, and the end of the century seemed an appropriate time for such a report.
This is a bare-bones history of the Biology Department. The project was more time consuming than anticipated. This report focuses on the development of the Biology Department and its program. Not included is a listing of all the activities of individual faculty members, such as college service in addition to duties in the Biology Department, community, state, regional, national and international service, activities in professional societies, invited lectures, publications, reviewing manuscripts for publishers of scientific journals, sabbatical activity, and awards received. The activities of individual faculty members influence the development of a department, but a line had to be drawn if the self-imposed deadline of July 2000 was to be met.
The information contained herein comes from the archives of Loras College, the book entitled The Loras College Story by Msgr. Francis P. Friedl, records of the Alumni Office, individuals and sources within the Biology Department, and from my own experiences and observations as a student and professor since 1944. There are 31 names on the list of Biology Department personnel since 1908. I have known all but four of them, Professors Breitbach, Kelleher, O’Toole and Regan.
This report is written from my perspective of events and individuals. Any factual errors, shortcomings or faulty perceptions are my sole responsibility.

Perhaps a report such as this should be written by someone outside of the department from an unbiased viewpoint. Nevertheless, I present this report with the hope that it gives the reader an understanding of the evolution of the Biology Department from its beginning to the present day, and how it is positioned to proceed into the 21st century.
July 2000

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I am grateful to all of the Biology Department for their cooperation and assistance, namely John Bamrick, Edward Cawley, Cathleen Cleary, David Czarnecki, Thomas Davis, Gerald Eagleson, Elizabeth Lynch, Fred Schnee, David Shealer and Lucy Wentworth. I am also indebted to Michael Gibson, Loras College archivist, Gerard Noonan, retired registrar of Loras College, and Susan LeGreco of the Alumni Office for their assistance in providing information. Special thanks are due to Cristin Day, Academic Secretary, for her efficiency and helpful suggestions. I also express my gratitude to Karla Braig, Director of Publications Center, Mary Kay Mueller, Graphic Artist, and Helen Kennedy of the Word Processing Center for their able assistance in assembling the components of this report.

THE BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT

EARLY HISTORY
The development of a department in an academic institution is influenced by its administration, faculty, students, physical facilities and available financial resources.With the retirement of Professors John Bamrick in 1996, Edward Cawley in 1997, and the death of Professor Gerald Kaufmann in 1998, there has been a “changing of the guard” in the Biology Department. What we are today is a result of what has happened in the past, so this is a good time to ask ourselves “Whence do we come, and where are we going?” We cannot fully understand the present without knowledge of the past.

The first task is to identify all who served as faculty in the Biology Department. For this information, a search was conducted in the archives of Loras College. The oldest available copy of the college bulletin was from the 1875-1876 academic year when we were known as St. Joseph’s College. There was a grand total of five faculty members in that year, including the President (Illus. 1). Compare this number with the total number of faculty in the 1999-2000 year, 117 full-time and 49 adjunct members.
The only course in science listed in the bulletins from 1875 to 1884 was Physics. It was discontinued until 1893 when the bulletin again listed Physics and another course in Botany and Geology. With noble aspirations, the college embarked on a plan to “perfect” its scientific course in the 1894-1895 academic year (Illus. 2). Courses in Astronomy and Physics were listed from 1894 to 1901 when Chemistry was added. Physiology was listed as an optional course from 1894 to 1899 when it was discontinued, but no prerequisites or description are given. It was not until the 1908-1909 year that the first obligatory courses in Biology were listed, Botany and Zoology. These were in addition to the courses in Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics. Of the nineteen faculty members listed for that year, only one was identified as Professor of Science, the Rev. John J. Breitbach. No schedule is given and it is not likely that all these courses were taught every semester or even every year, but in any case, he must have been a very busy man.

THE HOWELL ERA
The Rev. Msgr. John W. Howell is listed for the first time as science faculty along with the Rev. John J. Breitbach in the 1913-1914 bulletin. Rev. Howell now taught the biology courses, and Rev. Breitbach taught the other science courses. There was also a name change for the college in this year, from St. Joseph’s College to Dubuque College. The facilities for the science courses were moved to Hennessy Hall beginning with the 1916-1917 year. Hennessy Hall originally served as a residence hall. Another name change occurred in 1920. Dubuque College became Columbia College to avoid confusion with the Dubuque German College, which changed its name to the University of Dubuque[1].

The designation of Biology Department first appeared in the 1920-1921 bulletin and Msgr. Howell was now listed as Professor of Biology. He had some assistance during the early years. Francis Kelleher served as Instructor in Botany for two years (1922-1924) and Rev. Thomas O’Toole was listed as Instructor in 1929-1930. Florian Stork was listed as Assistant in Biology and Chemistry from 1934-1939, assisting in the laboratory.

The requirements for a major in Biology were first listed in the 1925-1926 bulletin. The major included 20 semester hours in biology, and an elementary knowledge (unspecified) of the principles of chemistry and physics, but no mathematics.
The Rev. Warren E. Nye came to the department in 1938, and a third member was added in 1939, the Rev. James J. Regan. Also in 1939, the centennial year, another name change occurred. Columbia College became Loras College to avoid confusion with Columbia University and 22 other schools in the United States that had the name Columbia attached in some way3.
A great tragedy befell the Biology Department in 1944. The Rev. James J. Regan drowned while on an outing in Baltimore. He was just weeks short of completing his doctorate program at Johns Hopkins University. This was a devastating blow to the Biology Department and Loras College. Everyone at the college who knew him looked forward with excited anticipation to his tenure as Professor of Biology, but it was not to be; a promising career was cut short. Father Warren Nye occasionally talked about him and it was obviously distressful for him to do so, even after many years. I missed knowing Father Regan by a few months, but I know two of Fr. Regan’s former students, now retired teachers, who considered him an excellent teacher with an engaging personality. His untimely death was a great loss to Loras College, for in those days following the Great Depression of the 1930’s and during World War II, it was not possible to replace him with someone with similar qualifications.

THE POST-WORLD WAR II PERIOD TO YEAR 2000
After World War II, the need for additional faculty was urgent with the great influx of veteran servicemen. This increased enrollment was made possible with the so-called “GI Bill”, the popular name for the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. Over 2,200,000 World War II veterans and over 1,213,000 Korean War veterans attended colleges and universities with the aid of this bill[2]. The benefits to our country resulting from this bill are immeasurable.

Some of today’s students may not be familiar with the term “GI”. It was first applied to army servicemen during World War II, and is an abbreviation for “general issue”, a term for clothing and equipment issued to the men of the United States army. “GI” also came to be known as “government issue”, which was probably the most popular designation.

To illustrate the increase in student numbers after World War II, the low point in enrollment during the war (250 in 1944-1945) exploded to 1,442 in 1948-1949[3] . In the immediate post-World War II years, it was difficult to find qualified individuals for college teaching. The demand far exceeded the supply.

Help came when Robert A. Genet assisted the department as an instructor in the second semester of 1945-1946. At this time, Loras College was fortunate to obtain the services of Emmett B. Polder, who became a faculty member from 1946 to 1963. His expertise in wildlife biology added another dimension to the Biology Department. One of his students, Gerald W. Kaufmann, credits Professor Polder for developing his interest in wildlife biology. After completing his graduate work, Gerald Kaufmann returned to Loras College as a member of the Biology Department. Professor Polder now resides in Dyersville, Iowa.
The Rev. William C. Kunsch joined the department in 1947 after completing his graduate work at the University of Illinois, and served in this capacity until 1960. He died in 1997. An article entitled “Fr. William C. Kunsch: IN MEMORIAM”, appears in the Spring 1999 issue of the Loras College Magazine, by Patrick J. McDonald (’61). He poignantly describes his remembrances of Fr. Kunsch as a teacher, adviser, friend and surrogate parent. His account also provides a glimpse of student life in the late 1950’s.

Joseph T. Dilger joined the department in 1947 to assist with the large numbers of students at that time. He went on to Medical School in 1948 and was replaced by Joseph E. Kapler. Now there were five in the department, Howell, Nye, Polder, Kunsch and Kapler, the largest number up to that time. After Msgr. Howell’s death in 1950 and Joseph Kapler’s leave of absence to graduate school, the number of teaching faculty declined to three. This coincided with a drastic drop in enrollment after the surge produced by World War II veterans passed through the college. The enrollment dropped to a new low point during the Korean War to less than half of what it was at the peak year of 1948-1949.

The number of faculty increased to four in 1955 when John F. Bamrick joined the department. This coincided with an upturn in enrollment at that time. With a continued increase in enrollment the biology faculty added another member in 1960 when Edward T. Cawley began his teaching career at Loras College. With Father Kunsch leaving the department at this time and John Bamrick returning after completing graduate work, the number of faculty was now five. The number became six in 1963 with the addition of Thomas P. Nauman. This again reflected an increase in enrollment. The number of full-time faculty members remained at six until 1974. During this time (1963-1974), three other faculty members served in the Biology Department for periods of two to four years. They were Donald L. Burton, Paul A. Buss and Rev. Lazarus W. Macior serving in the sixth position. There was a reduction of one until 1979, when the number again became six with the addition of Gerald W. Eagleson. With the retirement of Father Nye in 1984 and the addition of David B. Czarnecki, the number remained at six. The number of faculty remained the same in 1989 when Professor Kapler retired and was replaced by Professor Thomas A. Davis. The number of full-time faculty increased to seven with the coming of Fred B. Schnee in 1990. With the retirement of John F. Bamrick in 1996, the number again became six, and has remained there since then. In 1997, Elizabeth A. Lynch replaced Edward T. Cawley upon retirement, and David A. Shealer joined the department after the death of Gerald W. Kaufmann.
There have been four adjunct faculty members in the Biology Department in past years. John E. Havel taught the Microbiology course in 1979, and Paul S. Tabor did the same in 1988. Elizabeth Fitzsimmons taught the Nutrition course from 1987 to 1993, and Paul D. Jobsis taught the Survey of the Animal Kingdom course from 1997 through 1999. Cathleen M. Cleary is a fifth adjunct member, beginning in 1999 as Laboratory Instructor in Cell and Molecular Biology. Lucy Wentworth began as research technician in 1995 and continues to serve in that capacity.

The names of all the department personnel and the time of their service can be seen on the alphabetical list (Table 1) and the time chart, beginning in 1908 to 2000.

Table 1.Biology Department Personnel
Bamrick1, John F., Ph.D., 1955-1957, 1960-1996 Breitbach, The Rev. John J., A.M., 1908-1913 Burton, Donald L., M.A., 1967-1971 Buss, Paul A., Ph.D., 1971-1974 Cawley1, Edward T., Ph.D., 1960-1997Cleary2, Cathleen M., Ph.D., 1999-Present, Czarnecki, David B., Ph.D., 1984-Present Davis, Thomas A., Ph.D., 1989-Present
Dilger, Joseph T., B.S., 1947-1948 Eagleson, Gerald W., Ph.D., 1979-Present Fitzsimmons2, Elizabeth, B.A., 1986-1993 (photo not available) Genet, Robert A., M.A., 1946 Havel2, John E., M.S., 1979 Howell, The Rev. Msgr. John W., A.M., 1913-1950 Jobsis2, Paul D, Ph.D., 1997-1999 Kapler1, Joseph E., Ph.D., 1948-1951, 1954-1955, 1957-1989 Kaufmann, Gerald W., Ph.D., 1964-1966, 1969-1998 Kelleher, Francis J., A.M., 1922-1924 Kunsch, The Rev. William C., A.M., 1947-1960 Lynch, Elizabeth A., Ph.D., 1997-Present Macior, The Rev. Lazarus W., O.F.M., Ph.D., 1965-1967 Nauman, Thomas R., M.S., 1963-1964, 1966-1968 Nye, The Rev. Warren E., Ph.D., 1938-1984 O’Toole, The Rev. Thomas B., A.B., 1929-1930 Polder, Emmett B., M.S., 1946-1963 Regan, The Rev. James J., A.B., 1939-1942 Schnee, Fred B., Ph.D., 1990-Present Shealer, David A., Ph.D., 1998-Present Stork3, Florian J., A.B., 1934-1939 Tabor2, Paul S., Ph.D., 1988 (photo not available) Wentworth4, Lucy, B.A., 1995-Present
1-Professor Emeritus
2-Adjunct Professor
3-Assistant in Biology and Chemistry
4-Research Technician

LONG-TERM FACULTY
One characteristic of the Biology Department, as can be seen on the time chart, is the long-time service of several members, namely Professors Howell, Nye, Kapler, Bamrick, Cawley and Kaufmann. The cumulative total of their years of service in the department is 225 over an eighty-five year span, from 1913 to 1998.

From biology departments I have known at various other institutions over the years through association with the Iowa Academy of Science, Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Sciences and the Association of College and University Biology Educators, it has been my observation that the most successful departments are those with long-term faculty members. Long-term association enhances stability and continuity within the department.

A department with long-term faculty is better able to identify its strengths and weaknesses by the success of its students in their chosen fields after graduation. A long-term association indicates a certain level of commitment by the professor to the institution and, reciprocally, by the institution to the faculty. Long-term faculty become better known to Admissions Committees in graduate and professional schools, and thus are of more value to the student applicant than an unknown evaluator. This assumes that past evaluations have proven to be reasonably accurate.

The presence of long-term faculty can enhance alumni relationships with the college. Graduates returning for homecoming are often glad to see that some of their professors are still there, and the professors are also happy to see former students and to hear how they are progressing. So often a conversation with former students at homecoming begins with—“You may not remember me, but I was a student in one of your classes back in 1954.”

New students also have a better grasp of what to expect in a department with long-term faculty, having heard about the professors and the program via the grapevine. There is always the possibility that an incompetent faculty member can become entrenched in a department, but the Academic Dean and evaluation committees should be able to prevent such situations from developing. All in all, stability and continuity are desirable, assuming the department stays abreast of new developments in the body of knowledge and the changing needs of students.

Another characteristic of the Loras College Biology Department was a continuity that existed for a period of 85 years. It began with Msgr. John Howell in 1913 and came to an abrupt end with the death of Professor Gerald Kaufmann on January 31, 1998. Msgr. Howell, the first Professor of Biology at Loras College, was also one of its graduates. Since he began teaching, there has always been someone who was a Loras College graduate on the faculty of the Biology Department until the death of Professor Kaufmann. These faculty members were Professors Howell, Nye, Regan, Kunsch, Kapler, Bamrick, Kaufmann, and Nauman. After Professor Bamrick retired in 1996, I told Professor Kaufmann that he was “the Last of the Mohicans” (as a young boy, I was an avid reader of James Fenimore Cooper).

There has always been debate about graduates of an institution returning as a faculty member. Whatever the merits of these arguments, there are some advantages in returning to teach. Such a person is obviously familiar with the institution, its departments and their programs, and the teaching conditions. A graduate is also familiar with the students of the institution and knows what to expect as a teacher. Being familiar with some of the faculty of other departments can enhance the spirit of collegiality which is quite important in a small liberal arts college.

There is, however, the other side of the coin. There may be a tendency to teach as we were taught, and this could lead to stagnation in a department. Diversity in training of faculty is undoubtedly beneficial and desirable to a department and the college, but much depends on the individual’s qualifications and abilities. The Biology Department faculty who were graduates of Loras College received their graduate degrees from eight different universities, plus some did additional graduate work at other institutions. This diversity of graduate work can offset some of the effects of inbreeding in a department. Whether this (Loras graduates returning to teach) was beneficial, detrimental, or of no consequence to the Biology Department is not for me to determine, but the fact remains that this was a characteristic of the department from 1913 to 1998.

EVOLUTION OF COURSES
The list of courses with course titles speaks for itself (Table 2).
Table 2.
Evolution of courses.

Year Course Title Discontinued
1908-09 Botany 1946
1908-09 Zoology 1913
1913-14 Animal Biology 1923
1913-14 Histology 1960
1913-14 Embryology 1985
1919-20 General Biology 1970
1923-24 Zoology 1,2 1925
1923-24 Advanced Vertebrate Anatomy 1967
1925-26 Invertebrate and Vertebrate Zoology, formerly Zoology 1,2 1928
1928-29 Principles of Heredity 1930
1928-29 Biological Problems 1974
1942-43 Plant Physiology 1952
1943-44 Parasitology

1967

1947-48 Microtechnique 1968
1947-48 Cytological Methods 1953
1947-48 Morphology of the Angiosperms 1960
1951-52 Genetics  
1951-52 Ecology  
1960-61 Vertebrate Physiology 1970
1960-61 Advanced Botany 1967
1961-62 Seminar 1989
1964-65 Evolution  
1965-66 Introduction to Radioisotopes 1967
1967-68 Plant Physiology  
1967-68 Comparative Invertebrate Zoology 1970
1967-68 Comparative Vertebrate Zoology 1970
1967-68 Development and Evolution of Non-Seed Plants 1970
1967-68 Development and Evolution of Seed Plants 1970
1967-68 History of Biology  
1967-68 Functional Anatomy 1998
1967-68 Population Biology 1971
1967-68 Honors Readings 1974
1967-68 Honors Thesis 1974
1970-71 Life Science  
1970-71 Animal Physiology, formerly Vertebrate Physiology 1982
1970-71 Survey of the Animal Kingdom  
1970-71 Survey of the Plant Kingdom 1987
1970-71 Environment and Man 1988
1971-72 Field and Environmental Biology 1981
1971-72 Animal Behavior  
1971-72 Senior Interdepartmental Seminar 1973
1972-73 Biological Techniques 1989
1974-75 Marine Biology 1990
1974-75 Research Techniques 1985
1974-75 Honors Readings and Thesis  
1974-75 Independent Study/Independent Project 1993
1974-75 Interdepartmental Seminar  
1974-75 Interdivisional Seminar  
1974-75 Readings and Thesis, formerly Biology Problems  
1976-77 Microbiology  
1976-77 Anatomy and Physiology, formerly Functional Anatomy 1982
1976-77 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 1984
1979-80 Principles of Biology  
1980-81 Cell Biology 1987
1981-82 Introduction to Biochemistry 1991
1981-82 Aquatic Biology 1982
1982-83 Aquatic Ecology, formerly Aquatic Biology  
1982-83 Taxonomy of Vascular Plants 1986
1982-83 Vertebrate Physiology, formerly Animal Physiology  
1984-85 Basic Human Anatomy  
1985-86 Developmental Biology, formerly Embryology  
1986-87 Plants and Civilization  
1986-87 Nutrition 1993
1986-87 Neurobiology/Endocrinology  
1986-87 Local Fauna  
1986-87 Local Flora  
1987-86 Cell and Molecular Biology, formerly Cell Biology  
1987-88 Topics 1992
1987-88 Survey of Plants and Plant-like Organisms  
1988-89 Environment and Mankind, formerly Environment and Man 1993
1989-90 Experimental Design and Statistics - Biostatistics  
1989-90 Junior Seminar  
1989-90 Senior Seminar  
1990-91 Field Ornithology  
1990-91 Subtropical Ecology, formerly Marine Biology  
1990-91 Desert Ecology  
1990-91 Tropical Marine Ecology  
1991-82 Biological Software  
1992-93 Mountain Ecology  
1992-93 Senior Independent Study  
1992-93 Topics - Lower Division  
1992-93 Topics - Upper Division  
1993-94 Environmental Issues, formerly Environment and Mankind  
1993-94 Junior Independent Study, replaces Independent Study/Project  
1995-96 Human Genetics  
1998-99 Human Biology, formerly Funcional Anatomy  
1999-00 Conservation Biology  


The greatest increase in the number of courses offered occurred in the decades of the sixties, seventies and eighties, as shown in Table 3. The increase in the number of courses reflected the changing needs of students, the changing nature of the biology major program, and the increasing diversity in the areas of expertise of the faculty. Table 3.
The number of courses at each decade of the 20th century.

1910 - 2
1920 - 5
1930 - 6
1940 - 6
1950 - 10
1960 - 10
1970 - 19
1980 - 27
1990 - 39
2000 - 42
The areas of expertise of the current biology faculty are shown in Table 4, and the society memberships of the faculty, which reflects their special interests, are shown in Table 5.

Table 4. Areas of expertise of the current biology faculty.
animal behavior
aquatic ecology
botany cell and molecular biology
conservation biology
developmental biology
developmental physiology
ecology
endocrinology
evolution
field ornithology
genetics
herpetology
human anatomy
human genetics
microbiology
neurobiology
plant physiology
pshycology
Quaternary paleoecology
vertebrate physiology
zoology

Table 5. Society memberships of current biology faculty.
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Anatomists
American Ornithologists Union
American Physiological Society
American Quaternary Association
American Society of Neurologists
Association of College and University Biology Educators
Association of Field Ornithologists
Cooper Ornithological Society
Council on Undergraduate Research
Ecological Society of America
European Society of Comparative Endocrinologists
International Phycology Society
International Society for Diatom Research
International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
Iowa Academy of Science
National Association for Advisers of Health Professions
Physchological Society of America
Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
Waterbird Society

BIOLOGY MAJORS
The biology major program was established in the early 1920’s. Since then, a total of 828 students have completed the major program as shown in Table 6. Table 6. Biology majors.

1924 - 1
1951 - 10
1981 - 21
1925 - 0
1952 - 11
1982 - 19
1926 - 1
1953 - 13
1983 - 16
1927 - 0
1954 - 10
1984 - 19
1928 - 0
1955 - 7
1985 - 14
1929 - 2
1956 - 7
1986 - 19
1930 - 4
1957 - 9
1987 - 19
 
1958 - 11
1988 - 19
1931 - 2 1959 - 7 1989 - 19
1932 - 2 1960 - 5 1990 - 12
1933 - 2    
1934 - 4 1961 - 6 1991 - 10
1935 - 2 1962 - 11 1992 - 13
1936 - 5 1963 - 14 1993 - 16
1937 - 3 1964 - 12 1994 - 15
1938 - 9 1965 - 22 1995 - 12
1939 - 5 1966 - 9 1996 - 8
1940 - 3 1967 - 8 1997 - 12
  1968 - 14 1998 - 17
1941 - 4 1969 - 12 1999 - 32
1942 - 6 1970 - 14 2000 - 13

1943 - 3

   
1944 - 1 1971 - 20  
1945 - 1 1972 - 22  
1946 - 4 1973 - 22  
1947 - 11 1974 - 17  
1948 - 11 1975 - 15  
1949 - 12 1976 - 13  
1950 - 13 1977 - 17  
  1978 - 25  
  1979 - 25  
  1980 - 10  

THE HEALTH SCIENCE PROGRAM
In the early years, the emphasis in biology was on pre-medical and pre-dental programs. The biology major program was expanded considerably after World War II to include other areas of study, and students interested in health care professions also entered other areas in addition to those leading to degrees in medicine and dentistry. The numbers that have entered the various health care professions are shown in Table 7. The numbers come from the current alumni records and the records of Professor John Bamrick, the pre-medical advisor from 1970-1996. Table 7.
Loras students in health care professions, 1934-1996.

anesthesiology 1
chiropractic 7
dental hygiene 3
dentistry 76
health care administration 2
laboratory technician 8
medical technology 52
medicine (M.D.) 195
nuclear medical technology 4
nurse anesthetist 2
nutritionist 6
optometry 31
osteopathy 39
pharmacy 45
physical therapy 48
physicina assistant 3
podiatry 7
registered nurse 59
veterinary medicine 21

From 1997 to May 2000, an additional 52 students have been accepted into professional schools for health care professions, as indicated by the records of Professor Thomas Davis, the current pre-medical advisor. Not all of the students in the health care professions listed in the records completed their degree work at Loras College before entering professional schools. Of those that did, 238 were biology majors, 30 were chemistry majors, and one was a history major. All of them, however, took courses in biology before entering professional schools. The small number (2) of students listed in health care administration in Table 7 are biology majors who entered that field. There are many others in medical administration who are not biology majors.
An important and time-consuming task for the Biology Department involves advising students who wish to enter health care professions. Students must be fully aware of all the requirements for successful application to schools of their chosen field, such as course work and aptitude tests. Our original pre-medical advisor was Msgr. John Howell, followed by Rev. Warren Nye, then Professor John Bamrick, and now Professor Thomas Davis.

During Professor Bamrick’s tenure as pre-medical advisor, an evaluation committee was established. Professor Bamrick and Professor Jay Kopp of the Physics and Engineering Department organized the committee. It was approved by the Science Division and began functioning in 1973. The committee was chaired by Professor Bamrick and consisted of one member each from the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics and Engineering Science, and two other individuals from the college, all selected by the student. An evaluation which represents the consensus of a committee is considered to be of greater value than individual evaluations, and is preferred by most admissions committees in professional schools. This committee structure and function continues today chaired by Professor Davis.

Health Science Club
A Health Science Club for students interested in pursuing careers in the health sciences was established in 1995, with Professor Thomas Davis as the faculty moderator. The club sponsors various activities of interest to these students, including invited speakers.

RESEARCH
Research has always been an integral part of the biological studies at Loras College. From the very beginning students were involved in research. These projects took students beyond what could be learned from textbooks and other published material (library), lectures and laboratory work. These early projects were small-scale, but nevertheless, students were introduced to the concept of discovering new information through their own work.

Research opportunities complement classroom instruction and better prepare students for future studies and challenges. They help the student understand how new information is obtained. Research also enhances teaching effectiveness and contributes to the development of a student as an active learner and problem solver.

Submitting a written report of the research is an additional learning experience for students. The original manuscript of the report usually undergoes substantial revision before it is acceptable. This is an invaluable experience in developing written communication skills. Presenting the results of research projects at meetings, either as a platform presentation or as a poster presentation, is another valuable experience in communication.

The 1928-1929 bulletin lists the course Biological Problems for the first time, stating that the course was intended “for those majoring in biology, subject matter agreed upon through conference with instructor”. This course formalized the thesis project that is part of the biology major program. The course title Biological Problems was retained until 1974 when the name changed to Readings and Thesis (Table 2).

Beginning in 1989, the Biology Department offered a major in Biology and a major in Biological Research. The biology major is designed for students wishing a broad background, but who do not wish to pursue a research orientation. The biological research major is designed for students additionally wishing to obtain research experience and includes a research project.
The earliest thesis report (1922) in the Biology Department involving student research is entitled “A Study of the Growth of Corn in Five Different Kinds of Soil”, by Sister Mary Claire Hoxmeier. The results showed that yellow dent corn grew best in a mixture of clay and loam, and poorest growth was in glacial drift. Yellow dent corn is still planted today, but in much improved hybrid forms. Now, such a study would appear to be very simple, but this was 78 years ago. Hybrid corn had not yet been developed and commercial fertilizers were not available, so farmers utilized every possible practice to improve yields. Such studies are still ongoing. In the June 2000 issue of the Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science is a paper entitled “Corn Yield Response to Nitrogen Fertilizer in Conventional and Alternative Rotations”, by three Iowa State University agronomists. The quest for higher crop yields is never-ending.

The projects in the early years reflected course offerings of the time, which were focused primarily on a pre-medical program. The addition of Genetics, Ecology, and Vertebrate Physiology in the early post-World War II years expanded the range of thesis projects, and as more courses were added, the range of these projects was further broadened. Funding for thesis projects was provided by the Biology Department, but only on a small scale. Students relied on their own ingenuity to provide materials and data collection. The laboratory equipment used for thesis projects was limited to that available for course work.
At the present time, all full-time faculty members are involved with student research projects. Students can design their own projects (under faculty direction) or participate in a faculty member’s research. Both laboratory and field projects are suitable for student research. Table 8 indicates the specific research interests of the present faculty. Student projects, however, are not limited to these areas of research.
Table 8. Research interests of current biology faculty.

Czarnecki Morphological variations in freshwater algae, especially diatoms, and the impact of this variation on systematics and taxonomy; aquatic microorganism assemblage interactions (algal-protozoan associations)
Davis Embryonic development in bird and reptile eggs
Lung development and role of surfactant in chick eggs
Environmental effects on hatching success of turtle eggs
Role of albumen proteins in turtle embryos
Eagleson Development of the forebrain in the amphibians Ambystoma mexicanum and Xenopis laevis
Lynch Late-glacial pollen record from the forest-steppe border in the Wind River Range, Wyoming
Long-term dynamics of giant reed grass, Phragmites australis in coastal wetlands
Schnee Mating behavior of fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, utilized in genetics studies
Shealer Population ecology of water birds


Environmental Research Center
From relatively simple beginnings, research in the Biology Department has evolved into externally funded cutting-edge research.
A detailed account of all the research by faculty and students including analysis and categorization of the hundreds of student thesis reports is beyond the scope of this report. All research by faculty and students, whether funded or not, is equally important to the students and the department, but as a convenient method of quantifying the level of research involvement in the biology program, this report will summarize only research funded by external sources from 1973 through May 2000. In 1973, a substantial change in emphasis on research occurred with the establishment of the Environmental Research Center with Professor Edward Cawley as its Director. This was possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Since its beginning in 1973, the Environmental Research Center has provided approximately $229,500 in research funds for the Biology Department.
The presence of an established and functioning Environmental Research Center in the Biology Department has produced further benefits in that it greatly influenced the success of applications for additional funding for environmental research from other granting agencies. Since 1973, an additional total of $197,500 in research funds was received from the following granting agencies:

City of Dubuque
Dubuque Chamber of Commerce
Dubuque County
Dubuque Sand and Gravel
Dubuque Soil and Water Conservation District
Illinois Department of Conservation
Iowa Department of Conservation
Iowa Department of Transportation
National Science Foundation (NSF) REAP-CEP (Resource Enhancement and Protection-Conservation Education
Program) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers U.S. Center for Disease Control U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The funding for the Environmental Research Center has supplied field and laboratory equipment, computers, river research equipment, support for student research projects, disposable equipment, travel funds, support for Professor Czarnecki’s diatom collection and a stipend for the Director, Professor Edward Cawley. In 1982, one of the projects was a student originated study. Students planned the project and submitted the proposal to the National Science Foundation. This was an environmental study of the Catfish Creek watershed in Dubuque County. It was approved by the NSF and funded to the amount of $30,000. Since its beginning, the Environmental Research Center and other agencies have a provided a total of $427,000 in funds for environmental research in the Biology Department.

The establishment of the Environmental Research Center in the Biology Department in 1973 resulted from the burgeoning environmental movement of the 1960’s. There were environmental concerns long before the 1960’s, but there was little public interest and existing regulations were largely ignored. The book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, a marine biologist, published in 1962, focused the nation’s attention on developing environmental problems.

As a result of all the developments of the 1960’s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 as an independent agency of the United States government directly responsible to the President. The EPA conducts research, establishes and enforces protection standards, and provides grants and technical assistance to states, cities and other governmental units.

Also in 1970, Earth Day was first observed nation-wide on April 22. An estimated 20 million people participated in various activities to focus attention on environmental problems. The Biology Department participated in a program in the Field House on that day. In some areas and cities, Earth Day has been an annual event since 1970.

On a regional level, the Mississippi River Research Consortium (MRRC) was established in 1968. It was organized by a group of biologists from academic institutions along the Upper Mississippi River to stimulate and coordinate research on environmental problems on the Upper Mississippi River.

The Loras College Biology Department hosted the annual meeting of this organization in 1972 and in 1980. Beginning in 1981, LaCrosse, WI, became the permanent site for the annual meetings. The 32nd annual meeting was held there in April 2000. Professors Edward Cawley (1980) and Joseph Kapler (1972) served terms as president of the MRRC.

There has been some progress in halting further degradation of the environment and improving conditions since the 1960’s. As one example, the bald eagle, our national emblem, and some other birds of prey were in serious trouble in the lower 48 states when Rachel Carson sounded the alarm. It is still on the endangered species list, but it has recovered substantially. It is now a common sight in our area in wintertime. Iowa had no bald eagles nesting from 1907 to 1977, but now northeast Iowa is a favored nesting area.Forebrain Development Studies in Amphibians Professor Gerald Eagleson’s research interest is in the development of the forebrain in two species of amphibians, the Mexican axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, and the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. The pattern of brain development is similar in all vertebrates, and this research adds to our knowledge of the development of the forebrain in mammalian forms, including humans. Since joining the Biology Department in 1979, Professor Eagleson has been awarded a total of $564,755 in grants to support his research. The funding agencies are the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Iowa Science Foundation. The funding has provided equipment and supplies, travel and salaries for students and a research technician.

Two of the grants awarded by the NSF to Professor Eagleson were in collaboration with other researchers; one in 1981 on a study of the ontogeny of the hypothalamic nuclei in the axolotl with G.M. Malacinski of Indiana University, and one in 1988 on studies of embryonic development of neurons with William Harris of the University of California, San Diego.

Several of Professor Eagleson’s students presented the results of their research with poster presentations at meetings; the International Symposium by the Society for Neurosciences at New Orleans, the Conference of European Comparative Endocrinologists at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, the Symposium on Cellular Differentiation, and the Annual Midwest Neurobiologists Meeting, both at Iowa State University, and the Midwest Undergraduate Research Symposium at St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota.

Three of Professor Eagleson’s students are continuing their research in graduate school at the present time. They are Lisa Gerlach, at the University of Michigan, Jennifer High at Texas A&M University, and Nicole Westphal has received a prestigious Fullbright Research Fellowship to continue her research at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The records are not complete on students continuing their studies in graduate schools, but in a 9-year period (1979-1987), 33 biology majors entered graduate programs at various universities. This information was provided by Professor John Bamrick.Freshwater Diatom Culture Collection Professor David Czarnecki joined the Biology Department in 1984. His research interest is on the study of morphological variations in freshwater algae, especially diatoms, and the impact this variation has on systematics and taxonomy. Since being at Loras College, Professor Czarnecki has been awarded $43,545 in grants to support research by him and his students from the National Science Foundation, the Iowa Science Foundation, and the Iowa College Foundation.

Along with his research, Professor Czarnecki has developed the Loras College Freshwater Diatom Culture Collection (FDCC). The FDCC was established to serve two primary functions, education and research. The goals of the Collection have been and will continue to be aimed at maintaining a diversity of morphologically and physiologically healthy, unialgal and clonal freshwater diatoms for a variety of applications.

The FDCC initially held less than 240 diatom strains representing 161 ultimate taxa from 43 genera. The current strain holdings number about 1550, representing more than 400 taxa from 66 genera. Additionally, about 250 non-diatom algal strains are maintained by the collection. Access to all these strains is afforded to all interested individuals and organizations at an international level.

Diatoms from Professor Czarnecki’s collection have been involved in out-of-this-world studies. Experiments on effects of conditions of space on diatoms were conducted on three space shuttle flights. The last flight was with former astronaut John Glenn aboard, where he conducted some of the experiments with diatoms. The studies so far indicate that diatoms are quite resilient and hardy in the harsh environment of space.

The importance of the FDCC can best be expressed by comments of reviewers of funding proposals. Three of such comments are included here: “… A definite need exists for culture collections which maintain a diversity of taxa…The proposed funding would continue the maintenance and growth of an already-established culture collection whose holdings of diatoms are probably the world’s largest. … I want to add that such collections are an invaluable source of teaching tools, particularly with regard to the instruction of systematics, morphology, physiology, and biodiversity. … The qualifications of the principle investigator (PI) to complete the proposed work are superb. The PI is a renowned Phycologist who is well-versed in diatom systematics, morphology and ecology…” “… The PI has an enviable national and international reputation and a proven product…It is my sense of the situation that the resource Czarnecki has developed will be in increasing demand in the future. At present, the facility is one of the very few, and probably the best place providing material to conduct experimental verification studies…His facility is a national resource.” “…Dr. Czarnecki is to be commended for single-handedly developing the FDCC from nothing to the largest diatom culture collection in the world. …use of the collection seems substantial and international in scope, particularly when one realizes the FDCC is housed at a small, liberal arts college…”Pollen Record Studies and Dynamics of Giant Reed Grass Professor Beth Lynch, who joined the Biology Department in 1997, has recently (1999) been awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, for $20,000 for her studies on late-glacial pollen record for the forest-steppe border, Wind River Range, Wyoming. Another grant of $5000 was received by Professor Lynch from the Iowa Academy of Science for work on detecting long-term dynamics of giant reed grass, Phragmites australis, in coastal wetlands.


[1] From The Loras College Story by Msgr. Francis P. Friedl. Loras College Press.
[2] From World Book Encyclopedia. Field Enterprises Educational Corporation.
[3]From The Loras College Story by Msgr. Francis P. Friedl. Loras College Press.
 
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