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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Reed College has received a grant of $600,000 from the Collins Foundation in support of the renovation, enlargement, and updating of its biology building. The project, a continuation of the collegewide project to improve laboratory science facilities, is expected to cost $7.9 million.

Plans for the building, originally constructed in 1959, include expanded faculty and student research laboratories, reconfigured offices and laboratories, increased office space for both thesis students and faculty members, a 70-seat stair-stepped classroom that can accommodate lectures, and data lines to facilitate further integration of computers into research and teaching. The project will address shortcomings in the present building that include inadequate office and laboratory space, old labs that are not designed for the kinds of equipment used in the teaching of biology today, inadequate mechanical and electrical systems, and obsolete support facilities.

"We owe the phenomenal success of Reed's biology program to the commitment of the students and the vision and determination of the faculty, the staff, and the funding agencies, both private and governmental, that have helped it grow," said Reed president Steven Koblik. "Reed is grateful to the Collins Foundation for being the first to fund the facility that will move biology at Reed into the 21st century."

The Reed biology program
Reed's biology program, which has earned national recognition as a model for the integration of teaching and research, has been continually expanding for over 45 years as the discipline of biology has been changing and the department growing. The building was designed to accommodate 5 professors and less than 20 thesis students; these numbers have now more than doubled. An average of 14 percent of Reed graduates receive degrees in biology or biochemistry and molecular biology.

The biology department supports research programs in a wide variety of areas that reflect the diversity of the field, giving students an appreciation for the breadth of the discipline of biology and an in-depth understanding of a particular area. The curriculum offers both theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of molecular, cellular, organismic, and population levels of biological structure. The integration of research and education is the basis of the Reed sciences.

All Reed biology faculty members are experienced scholars, researchers, and teachers committed to the Reed tradition of mentoring students in the laboratory. They regularly receive national awards for excellence in both teaching and research, and outstanding support for their research programs: since 1987 they have received over $3.1 million in funding for research activities from nationally competitive funding sources. Since 1993 members of the biology department have published 36 scholarly papers, 22 of which were co-authored with undergraduates. Biology professor Robert Kaplan was named the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching's 1996-97 U.S. Baccalaureate Professor of the Year.

Among all U.S. institutions of higher education, Reed is first in the percentage of graduates who go on to earn Ph.D.s in the life sciences. Out of the 1,100 biology graduates for which the college has survey data--representing almost all of its living biology graduate--almost 200 have Ph.D.s. Over half of all of Reed's graduates in the sciences go on to work in biology and biomedical sciences as college professors, laboratory researchers, or physicians, and others pursue careers in computer science, engineering, electronics, and health administration.

The Collins Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Portland, Oregon, was created in 1947 by members of the family of E.S. Collins. The Collins Foundation works to improve, enrich, and give greater expression to religious, educational, cultural, and scientific endeavors in the state of Oregon and to assist in improving the quality of life in the state.