Los Angeles: Departments
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
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
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
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