Jul 24, 2024  
2012-2013 Catalog 
2012-2013 Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: Content may no longer be accurate.

Department of Botany

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Department Chair: Barbara Wachocki
Location: Science Lab, Room SL402M
Telephone Contact: Karen Gaunt 801-626-6174
Professors: Eugene Bozniak, Stephen Clark, Ron Deckert, Suzanne Harley, Barbara Wachocki

While plants have intrigued and delighted people for thousands of years, they still remain undervalued and too little appreciated. We somehow manage to see a faint connection between plants and our basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and energy, but only in a rather limited way. Remote connections are made, if any at all, between the history of exploration; present-day social, economic, and political conditions; and access to plants and plant products. Interest and understanding of plants is becoming much more intense. During the last few decades we have seen an unprecedented increase in the variety of plants and plant products available in our markets as the popularity of ethnic cuisines has grown. Also, worldwide, people are becoming increasingly aware of sound nutrition and the role plants play in our general health. We now appreciate plants as reservoirs of untold numbers of pharmaceuticals important in our war on diseases. These interests are stimulating our collective concerns about understanding the past, present, and future uses of plants.

Recently we have begun to address our most serious problems, viz the loss of ecosystem integrity and habitats for animals dependent upon vegetation. This we have done through increased understanding of plants. We now know how valuable plants are in maintaining the health and stability of the global environment and that in its survival is the survival of the human species.

Botany is the study of all aspects of plants, including systematics, morphology, diversity, metabolism, and ecology. Through a study of plants, students gain an understanding and an appreciation of life at the cellular, organismal, population, and community levels of organization. The study of Botany can lead to a variety of professional careers, including soil science, forestry, range management, biotechnology, plant breeding, horticulture, marine biology, environmental science, natural medicine, and teaching.

The Botany Department at Weber State University offers undergraduate training in all areas of botany. Individuals who choose to study botany fall into three broad groups. In order to serve each group effectively, the Botany Department offers a Botany Major with three tracks. Track A is designed to prepare students for careers in laboratory research or post-baccalaureate studies at graduate or professional schools. Track B is designed to prepare students for field-related careers such as ecology, environmental science, and natural resource management. Track C, with greater flexibility through more elective courses, is designed to meet the needs of students who wish to be more broadly trained because of general interests in Plant Biology or of those students who enter the program with an Associate of Science Degree.

Botany majors in all tracks develop a portfolio. The portfolio is a multidimensional collection of both student and faculty selected materials that are both developmental and representational in nature. Within the portfolio, students can document their acquisition of a variety of skills, including critical thinking, scientific reasoning, writing, speaking, and effective arguing. The portfolio is used for assessment purposes in addition to serving as an incentive to the student for developing good habits in assembling and organizing materials of relevance to themselves and others, such as personnel managers or graduate school selection committees. The department has also developed an undergraduate thesis program which provides a desirable capstone experience for many of the Botany majors.

The Botany Department cooperates in offering a Biology Composite Teaching Major; this program prepares individuals who are interested in teaching Biology at the secondary school level (described under the Department of Zoology  in this catalog).

The Botany Department meets the needs of students interested in pursuing post-baccalaureate professional degrees and certificates at schools of natural medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathy, and Chinese medicine through Option 2 of the Track A Botany Major, Pre-Natural Medicine. The department also serves students who are interested in baccalaureate-level professional programs in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, and Range Management. After completing a Pre-Agriculture, Pre-Horticulture, Pre-Forestry, or Pre-Range Management program at Weber State, a student must continue his or her education at another institution in order to obtain a baccalaureate degree in one of these fields. The catalog of the school to which the student plans to transfer should be consulted as a guide in registering for courses at Weber State.

The Botany Minor provides valuable support for students majoring in a variety of other fields, including anthropology, geosciences, and zoology.


The Herbarium of Weber State University is housed on the fourth floor of the Science Lab Building and contains more than 24,000 preserved plant specimens collected from Utah and the Western United States. This collection serves as an important reference for students, faculty, biologists, and all others who need to know the identity of plants, or learn something about their geographic distributions and ecological associations. It also serves as the repository of the plants collected for the Institute of American Indian Botany.

Institute of American Indian Botany

The Institute is dedicated to the study of American Indian Botany and provides a place where all of those who have interest can learn, conduct research, teach, and preserve for generations yet to come, this segment of our great American heritage.

Biotechnician Training Program

The Department of Botany participates with the Departments of Microbiology and Zoology in the Associate of Science degree and 3rd year Certificate in Biotechnician training for the biotechnology industry. This program is described earlier in this College of Science  section of the catalog.

Biology Composite Teaching Major

See the Department of Zoology  in this catalog for program requirements.

Interdisciplinary Programs

The Botany Department participates in the interdisciplinary Urban and Regional Planning Emphasis Program. Students who wish to enroll in this program should indicate their desire to do so with the program coordinator who will help them work out a proper combination of courses to fit their particular needs. (See the Engaged Learning and Interdisciplinary Programs  section of the catalog.)


    Pre-ProfessionalBachelor of ScienceEmphasis Option for Bachelor of Integrated Studies

       BIS emphases are also offered for most programs with a minor.

    MinorHonors, Departmental

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