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Los Angeles: Departments

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When the Southern branch of the San Jose State Normal School opened in 1882, one of the three staff members was an instructor in natural science. Two years later, courses were offered in zoology, physiology and hygiene. The first zoology instructor at this school (which became the Los Angeles State Normal School in 1887) was Sarah P. Monks, who taught until 1906. At various times (sometimes simultaneously), she also served as instructor in chemistry, biology, and drawing, and as curator of the museum. Instruction in zoology was first concerned with insects injurious to vegetation. In 1902, zoology and botany were incorporated into a Department of Biology.

In 1904, Loye Holmes Miller joined the staff of the department, teaching biology and nature study. He remained closely associated with the future development of the biological sciences, especially zoology, until his retirement in 1943.

When the Los Angeles State Normal School moved to Vermont Avenue in 1914, Miller served as chairman of the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. When the normal school was made the Southern Branch of the University, he soon became chairman of the Department of Biology, and within two years, instruction was being provided in zoology, biology, botany, agriculture, physiology, bacteriology and paleontology. Zoology offered a major for the first time in 1924, but remained in a Department of Biological Sciences until 1935.

In 1935, a major re-organization occurred. Departments of Zoology, Botany, and Bacteriology were established but were associated in a Life Sciences Group, of which Miller was named chairman. The Life Sciences Group went out of existence as an administrative unit in 1947.

The first chairman of the Department of Zoology was Bennet M. Allen. At that time, there were 12 members in the department. Graduate work, which had been inaugurated in 1935, consisted of four courses. In 1964-65, the department had 30 full-time staff members; approximately half of the courses were graduate courses (46 out of a total of 93).

In 1955, the department moved to its quarters in the Life Sciences Building, which it occupies jointly with the Department of Bacteriology. Two additions were made to the building since 1955. Up to July 1965, research activities were also carried on in a separate series of buildings, the Zoology Vivarium. In 1948, a Marine Fisheries Group became an integral part of the department. The department continued to give courses in biology or life sciences. In the fall of 1964, an introductory year course in biology was set up for majors in zoology, botany, and bacteriology, and the beginning course in zoology was abandoned.

In common with many other life sciences groups, the Department of Zoology tended to emphasize the physiological, biochemical and behavioral aspects of the science. Members of the department played an important role in the newly organized Institute of Molecular Biology. source

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