biology Department

James BoykinJames D. Boykin

Professor Boykin was COC's first Professor of the Biology Department and in 1985 the L Building which housed College of the Canyons Biology Department was renamed to James D. Boykin Laboratory Center. 
Jim Boykin was known for always having a houseful of students.  Ranging from the more than 25 Micronesia students he sponsored at COC living with him to local students showing up for dinner and an impromptu teaching session.  Jim Boykin had positive expectations about everybody; he assumed his students would succeed, so they did.  In the early years of College of the Canyons the Faculty of the Biology Department were few but “Jim Boykin formed a team which in turn made the department strong” stated Carol Sherwood, a part-time faculty member who worked with Jim Boykin and Don Takeda in the 70’s. Tragically Jim Boykin passed away at the very early age of 59 in 1985.  Faculty and students honored him with the planting of Incense Cedar trees, a photo collage, a Memorial Grove in a National Park and a scholarship in his name.

Betty RoseBetty Rose

After 25 years of exceptional teaching, mentoring and unsurpassed dedication to student success, Betty Rose retired at the end of the Spring 2011 semester. 
She has been an integral part of the faculty at College of the Canyons and a vital part of the Biology Department. Betty developed the curriculum for our highly successful biology majors’ Organismal & Environmental Biology course; expanded Anatomy & Physiology to be the most successfully enrolled sections within the Biological Sciences department after the introductory courses and bravely taught BIOSCI 250, commonly know as Suicide Anatomy and Physiology.  Will we ever be able to find another Professor to teach 250?

Greg NishiyamaGregory Nishiyama, Ph.D.

Our division dean, Omar Torres described so well Greg’s enormous contribution to the classroom in a email sent to the Biology Department shortly after Greg announced his retirement.
 Last spring, I had the privilege of attending one of Greg’s Zoology lectures, and I was amazed not only at his level of intellectual rigor and professionalism, but also his insightful demeanor and ability to captivate his student audience.  Greg’s classroom is notably characterized as a positive, active learning environment whereby occasional humor, storytelling, and currency are continually interjected as modes to enlighten students’ experiences and support overall learning.  His care, dedication, and compassion are trademarks clearly evident in his teachings.”
When Greg Nishiyama joined the Biology Department in 1999 he brought with him a wealth of knowledge and experience.  A noted scholar in the field of Chemical Ecology with an impressive list of scholarly studies and published scholarly works to his name. Some of those include the following:
  1. Development of rapid environmental assessment techniques (USC-COC)
  2. Discovered and named two new species of sponges (USC)
  3. Discovered three new toxins from sponges (USC)
  4. Determined the influence of sponge toxins in determining coral community (this was the first time such a study was ever conducted) (USC)
Greg served as Faculty advisor to the Biology club, Lead Faculty for Environmental Biology, General Biology, Marine Biology, & Genetics and spearheaded the development of the Biology Department at the new Canyon Country Campus.
Greg retired at the end of the Sping 2011 Semester.