Courses offered in the life sciences give students a general understanding of the fundamental principles of life that extend from the tiniest microbes to plants, animals, and human beings. Students also obtain the knowledge, skills, and motivation necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Specialized courses emphasizing teaching and research in various life science disciplines are also offered. Disciplines range from basic science to applied science.
The goal of the Life Sciences Student Services Center is to provide "one stop shopping for students and faculty." The center services students in five areas: advisement, assessment, career advisement, college life, and mentored experiences.
Advisement—Students are instructed in general education advisement as well as assistance in creating a graduation curriculum plan for their major. Advisement is regarded as an interactive, developmental experience between students and advisors. Among other advisement services are the change of major, academic success, and graduation processes, as well as other specific advisement needs. LfSc 101 is offered to all new students who are exploring Life Science majors. All majors and career options are presented in this course plus basic student development principles to assist new students in adapting to BYU and becoming familiar with its resources.
Assessment—Students are informed of the importance of maintaining the university's accreditation standing. Students assist the assessment process by providing input through surveys, exit interviews, one-year-out and five-year-out surveys, and results on national major field exams and other national and professional school admission exams.
Career advisement—Students are assisted in major exploration and basic developmental career issues. Information is provided regarding university resources for further career and major exploration.
College life—The "Empowering Others" philosophy encourages students to help and teach each other by creating a spirit of cooperation rather than competition. Study groups are fostered and organized to enhance learning. A learning facility provides tutoring services for students enrolled in the essential biology courses. This walk-in area allows a student access to tutors 10–12 hours per day. Leadership opportunities for students can be enhanced through participation on the Life Sciences Student Council and participation in clubs. The college also offers scholarship opportunites to its undergraduate and graduate students.
Mentored experiences—Internships provide students with opportunities to try out their prospective careers. The center provides resources for obtaining internships as well as processing all the paperwork and awarding grants to students who desire that experience. Assisting faculty with research constitutes a mentorship. Students learn invaluable skills and problem-solving techniques from their mentors. The center can help students seeking mentored experiences.
M. L. Bean Life Science Museum
Larry St. Clair, Director
Leigh Johnson, Associate Director for Research and Collections
Marta Adair, Assistant Director for Education
Robert Johnson, Collections Manager, Herbarium
Byron Adams, Curator of Meiofauna
John Bell, Curator of Mollusks and Crustaceans
Shawn Clark, Collections Manager, Arthropods
Jerald Johnson, Assistant Curator of Fish
Leigh Johnson, Curator, Herbarium
Randy Larsen, Assistant Curator of Birds
Riley Nelson, Assistant Curator of Insects
Duke Rogers, Curator of Mammals
Dennis Shiozawa, Curator of Fish
Jack Sites, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians
Larry St. Clair, Curator of Nonvascular Cryptogams
Michael Whiting, Curator of Insects
The Bean Life Science Museum is fully accredited with the American Alliance of Museums. A major addition and remodel of the museum was completed in 2014. Its vast teaching and research collections include more than two million arthropods, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, meiofauna and mollusks, and more than 700,000 plants, fungi, algae, and bryophytes. Specimens for these collections, which represent creative work by university faculty members and students, have been gathered from around the world, making the museum a major repository of scientific-quality, biological collections in the western United States.
The museum and its collections are utilized by university classes in biology, plant and wildlife sciences, education, art, geography, and other disciplines. The museum also maintains and manages the Lytle Ranch Preserve. Located in the northernmost extension of the Mojave Desert southwest of St. George, Utah, this 600-acre desert "classroom" is situated in a part of Utah that is unique not only for its plant and animal communities, but also for its setting at the crossroads of three major bioregions.
Public programs at the museum include temporary and permanent exhibits of natural communities that illustrate complex relationships between plants, animals, and their physical environment. Educational programs serve more than 150,000 annual visitors and provide classes and programs for public and private schools and many other organizations. Museum hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Sunday. Admission is free.
The Western North American Naturalist, a nationally recognized peer-reviewed natural history journal, is administered by the museum. Other museum publications include professional and popular works such as A Utah Flora, Bark and Ambrosia Beetles of South America, Snakes of Utah, and Common Rocky Mountain Lichens.