The Faculty of Biology of the University of Vigo is a young institution, which emerged in 2003 from the Faculty of Sciences that housed until that year the studies of Biology, Marine Sciences and Chemistry. From that moment on, the Faculty of Biology is the centre responsible for delivering specialised studies of Biology, including an Undergraduate Degree and several Master’s degrees. In addition, it is also the centre of the activity of many research groups who go deeper into the biology and related fields of knowledge.
However, the recent history of the Faculty of Biology cannot be understood without considering the long history of studies of biology at the University of Vigo, linked originally to the College of Vigo, popularly known as the “Cuvi” and dependent on the University of Santiago de Compostela.
The University of Vigo was founded in 1990 facilitating the creation of the Faculty of Sciences and the complete implementation of the Biology Degree, approving its first curriculum in 1994. A year later, this degree together with the Chemistry Degree and the Marine Sciences Degree, moved into a new field at the Experimental Sciences Building, where they currently remain. In 1996, the curriculum of the Biology Degree suffered a modification and a later revision in 2001, until the abolition of the Bachelor’s degree (five-year period) in 2009, after the adaptation of the university studies to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), when it was implemented the new Biology degree (four-year period). In that time, the Faculty had facilitated 17 academic promotions of graduates in biology, which together with the research work of the centre, were an excellent sample of the educational and scientific level achieved in a few years. In addition, numerous postgraduate degrees and doctoral programmes allowed to complete the education of own and outside graduates, as well as influencing the education of new highly qualified researchers.
The faculty of Biology teaches the Degree in Biology (authorized in October 2008) since 2009, following the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area(EHEA). Nowadays, it is consolidated and has a high social demand. In relation to the above, a modification of the “verification report”(Memoria Verífica) of the degree has been carried out during the year 2012-2013, with the main objective of increasing the number of places on offer, which was finally implemented during the 2013-2014 year.
The Degree in Biology continues being the basis of the faculty’s formative activity, although it maintains an extensive offer of postgraduate studies that specialise students in different areas of biology. This faculty has been coordinating the Advanced Biotechnology Master’s degree, shared with the University of A Coruña, and the Master’s degree of Marine Biology, shared with the Universities of Santiago and A Coruña since the academic year 2010-2012. Similarly, the master’s degrees of Aquaculture and Neuroscience, which were jointly taught with the Universities of Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña, emerged as an evolution of the previous official postgraduate programmes in the academic year 2008-2009. In addition, the Master’s degree in Biological Sciences, which is taught in English, has also been implemented since the academic year 2013-2014. The Faculty of Biology also coordinates the Master’s degree in Teaching Training, which has been taught since 2009-2010 at the three campuses of the University of Vigo.
The research activity has always been intense at the Faculty of Biology, allowing the formation of numerous research groups that develop projects of the highest scientific level in their laboratories and in the research facilities, which the University puts at their disposal, such the Scientific and Technological Research Assistance Centre (CACTI), Toralla Marine Science Station (ECIMAT) or the Biomedical Research Centre (CINBIO). This research activity is complemented by a wide variety of Phd Programmes in the field of Biology, which are offered by the University and largely developed at the Faculty of Biology. All these have also an impact on the large number of Doctoral Theses presented year by year at this Faculty, which help to rise the university education to the highest possible level.
In order to meet the high education and research demand, the centre has been providing through the years a large number of professors, committed to specialised education, with up-to-date knowledge and innovative spirit. Furthermore, this faculty has been introducing different mechanisms that guarantee the quality of teaching, introducing new technologies, giving context a large variety of educational activities in the classrooms and laboratories, and establishing strict mechanisms of teacher coordination. In the same vein, and with the aim of providing comprehensive education, the degrees of this faculty have gradually introduced tutorial action plans that seek to guarantee the necessary orientation and continuous attention to students.
The commitment to quality and continuous improvement is already part of the main focus of this faculty and several milestones mark the commitment that maintains with quality:
- Participation of the Degree of Biology in the II Quality Plan of the Universities, in 2012.
- Strategic Plan of the Faculty of Biology 2005-2007, elaborated with the purpose of facilitating the integration into the EHEA scenario and directing the faculty towards a path of excellence.
- Mission and Vision of the Faculty of Biology. They were established in the Strategic Plan and continue being referents of the centre, both internally and externally. The slogan established at that time “Their success, our success”, still remains in force.
- Certification of the Design of the System of Quality Assurance of the Faculty of Biology, year 2008-2009. The centre participated in the first call of ACSUG to “design” a Quality Assurance System (QAS) within the FIDES/AUDIT Programme. The proposal received a favourable report from the agency on 30th January, 2009.
- Implementation of the QAS, with the deployment of most of the procedures and actions that derive from its application.
- Certification of the introduction of the QAS at the Faculty of Biology. During the year 2013 the Faculty of Biology participated in the initial pilot test of ACSUG to certify the implementation of its QAS. On 18th November, 2013, the faculty received a QAS certification to state that this system was implemented according to the guidelines established by the FIDES/AUDIT Programme.
- Continuous evolution and improvement. They arise from the necessary adaptation of the procedures of the QAS to the new regulations and to the reality of the qualifications, which entails a continuous revision of the quality system adapting to the context of each moment, and favouring the implementation of improvements in teaching quality, planning and the strategy of the centre.