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UND's biology department may have found a new endangered species. Its own faculty.

The department has its work cut out this summer to fill the gap left by departures of five faculty. The out-migration began a year ago, partly in response to the tax referral of 1989, say leading faculty members.

"You'd have to call it a rebuilding situation. We've lost quite a number of good people," said biology chairman Richard Crawford.

After three years chairing the department, Dr. Crawford is stepping down this summer so he can focus more on research and teaching graduate students in fish and wildlife sciences.

Takes over as chairman

Professor Albert Fivizzani will take over as chairman on July 1.

"All we can do is try our darnedes to replace people," he said of the challenge ahead.

"We're hanging in there. I don't think the students have suffered a lot yet." Crawford said.

Some students have been turned away, though, because of the biology turnovers. Crawford said several graduate students who applied for fisheries programs couldn't be accepted this year.

Waiting to hear

The biology department is waiting to hear from two faculty candidates who've been offered positions for the next school year. A third candidate has rejected a UND offer.

Dr. Fivizzani said he was encouraged by recent recruiting successes at the medical school's pharmacology department, which was once down to half its normal faculty strength.

"Pharmacology has shown that with patience and perseverance you can get the hurdles," he said.

"Pharmacology chairman David Hein said that after two years of searching, his department has been able to attract three outstanding new assistant professors from Iowa, Maryland and Missouri.

Hurting in fisheries

The area where the biology department is hurting most is in fisheries, according to Crawford Fisheries biology and aquatic sciences in general are fast-growing fields, he said.

UND lost its top fisheries professor when Bruce Barton resigned this winter to take a consulting post in his native Canada.


Longtime professor and former chairman Paul Kannowski took early retirement last summer.

Shorebird expert Lewis Oring took a university post in Reno, Nev.

Geneticist Robert Fleischer took unpaid personal leave to join the research staff of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Ike Schlosser also has joined the unpaid-leave list -- to be a biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in California.

Crawford said some departing professors had been discouraged by a perceived lack of public support for education. He cited the voter defeat of state tax increases in the December 1989 referral election.

Since then, he said, the UND administration has tried to improve biology recruiting efforts by offering some especial funds for laboratories and other start up costs for new faculty. And campus-wide: Currently, 30 faculty members are listed as not returning to UND for the 1991-92 school year. Nineteen are resignations; the rest are leaving for retirement or other seasons.

The list is expected to grow over the summer. The turnover rate is not unusually high so far. One reason that UND recruiting isn't as bleak as the talk of nationally low salaries would suggest: Many other states have faced dramatic higher education budgets cuts -- and faculty and staff layoffs.

UND is still hiring.

Grand Forks Herald, June 5, 1991