Student Advisory Committee

The Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is responsible for the administration of Course Evaluation Forms and participates in the evaluation of teaching effectiveness. The committee ordinarily consists of seven members who must be majors in the department. SAC elections are held during the spring semester. Sophomores are elected to two-year terms to fill the seats being vacated by graduating seniors. Each spring all members of the new SAC elect a chair from among those incumbent members who have already served a year on the SAC.

During the last three weeks of each semester, the SAC administers a Course Evaluation Form to all classes of its department. This form is uniform for all departments. Copies of the form are given to the teacher and to the department chair at the end of the semester after grades have been submitted to the Registrar. These evaluations are significant components of decisions regarding faculty compensation, retention, and promotion.

The SAC also prepares advisory reports to faculty and participates in the evaluation of faculty for reappointment, tenure or promotion. Through this process, the students present their views of a faculty member's effectiveness as a teacher, as represented by the Course Evaluation Forms. These reports are very serious matters and demand quality of analysis, fairness of judgment, and accuracy of presentation.

SAC members attend department meetings to represent the student voice. They also assist the department in hiring by meeting with candidates and conveying their impression to the department.

Night Labs

Night labs make available the facilities of O'Neil and Swords Halls during evening hours for students who wish to complete laboratory assignments or find a quiet place to study.

The building is open on Monday through Thursday evenings from 7 to 10 p.m. with all the labs and the lounge available for use. Any Holy Cross student enrolled in a biology course may use the building provided that they sign in and leave an ID upon entering. This is for purposes of security, and the students can pick up their ID's when they sign out and leave the building.

Should there not be enough volunteers to cover the building adequately for a particular evening, the building will remain closed. Volunteers should contact the Biology Society or the department's laboratory supervisors.

The night labs are an important resource of the biology department, and it is expected that students will not abuse this privilege.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is a national honor society. It elects to membership individuals who have distinguished themselves intellectually in pursuing education in the liberal arts and sciences. The society's objectives include intellectual honesty and tolerance, a range of intellectual interests, and understanding — not merely knowledge.

On May 8, 1974, the Phi Beta Kappa Massachusetts Chapter, Pi, was chartered at Holy Cross and the first group of Holy Cross undergraduates was initiated. Each year since then, students of high academic achievement are considered for election, and some of them join the fraternity. Criteria for election include broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character. Juniors and seniors who are enrolled at Holy Cross and are candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree are eligible for consideration if their undergraduate records fulfill the following minimum requirements:

  • The candidate must have completed at least 3 semesters of work in residence at Holy Cross and be registered for a fourth semester.
  • To be considered for election as a junior, the candidate must have completed at least 20 college courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.80. The minimum GPA for election as a senior is at least 3.50. Weight is given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside the major, and the balance and proportion of the degree program as a whole. The minimum requirements for breadth are as follows: natural sciences (one course), mathematics (one course)*, language (completion of a second-year level course)*, humanities (two courses), and social sciences (two courses). The mathematics and language requirements may be met by sufficiently high College Board achievement examination scores.

*These two requirements are not the same as the College’s common area requirements.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

At the end of the spring semester a symposium is held where undergraduate research students present their results in the form of posters. For some the opportunity is a requirement of their research program; for all it is a chance to summarize their experiences and learn those of others. This is one of the year's intellectual highlights and is well attended by students, faculty and friends.

Biology Seminar Series

Several times each semester visiting scientists are invited to speak by the biology department on a subject of their expertise. These seminars are opportunities for the student to be stimulated by an encounter with the world beyond the textbook. The lectures themselves and refreshments afterward offer the chance for informal contact with the speaker, faculty, and fellow students. There is a similar symposium in the fall when students who did research over the summer present their results.