History of the Programme /Discipline
The discipline of Zoology (now Animal and environmental biology) was established in 1981 with the inception of the University. The programme started with one Professor, one senior lecturer, one lecturer I and three other lecturers including one graduate assistant. Many other lecturers have joined the programme at various levels. The programme has been attracting experienced lecturers from outside the country and from older universities. The programme in zoology was designed to train skilled manpower with basic scientific knowledge in hydrobiology and zoology in general.
With the adoption of the Faculty structure, the discipline retained its full academic Department status. Initially emphasis was more on the traditional teaching of anatomy, diversity, evolution, morphology, physiology, ecology etc of animals. Some of the distinct unit have now become major areas of academic interest of lecturers. These include entomology, parasitology, fisheries biology and hydrobiology. The Department now has a multidisciplinary approach geared toward applied fields such as animal ecology, public health, parasitology, applied entomology and pest management, animal reproductive physiology, ecotoxicology, fish productivity, hydrobiology, aquaculture and environmental impact studies. This shift from the basic zoology teaching and research activities and the growth and diversification of the various units were in response to community, National and International expectations and needs. As part of our contribution to the overall academic objectives of Abia State University viz:
"TO CONTRIBUTE TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, SELF RELIANCE AND UNITY THROUGH THE ADVANCEMENT AND PROPAGATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND TO USE SUCH KNOWLEDGE FOR SERVICE TO COMMUNITY AND HUMANITY"
The then "Traditional Zoology has been revised to achieve the above objectives and to accelerate our pursuit toward industrialization, socio-economic self-reliance and service to the community and humanity.
Structure of the Programme
It is a 4-year programme. In the first two years, students take all faculty of and university wide courses as in the existing NUC approved programme. In the first Semester of the third year, students are expected to take the core introductory courses to the proposed new programme. This approach gives the students the basic background to the animal conservation and environmental biology oriented courses in the following semesters programme.
An industrial field experience programme is retained in the long vacation of the second semester of the third year.
In the fourth /final year, students are expected to take advanced courses that offer them greater exposure and an in-depth knowledge of the programme. These courses are basic, applied and multi-disciplinary. A research project and seminar are also to be complete during the year. The project and seminar do not depart radically from the existing format.
Entry requirements remain unchanged, that is the minimum entry requirement of five credits including the basic sciences (physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics) and English in not more than two sittings.
Philosophy and Objectives of the programme
The overall philosophy of the programme being proposed remains the provision of training in basic and applied aspects of faunal sciences (Science of animals) as they are relevant to the understanding of the relationships of man, animals, plants and the other components of the ecosystem, the application of such training and understanding to the development of the human intellect and management of our natural resources, and the overall socio-economic, scientific and technological development of the country. The major objectives shall be to train animal biologists for employment in the public and private sectors, but additionally to develop their skill for self-employment.