The Jimmie Long Era

(By Dr. Andrew A. Dewees, February, 2007)

 

Dr. James D. Long had a lifelong affiliation with the Biology Department and Sam Houston State University, and he is largely responsible for the development of the Department into its current form. As Director of the Department of Biology during a period of rapid university enrollment growth, Dr. Long helped established professional faculty hiring practices, modern curricula, faculty workloads and class scheduling strategies, practices that remain in effect in the Department today

James D. Long was born and raised on the family farm near the east Texas town of Rusk, where he graduated from high school at the age of 16.  He then attended Lon Morris Junior College in the nearby town of Jacksonville from 1942 to 1944, after which, at age 18, he was drafted into the U. S. Navy.  He was trained in Malariaology at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, and spent one year in mosquito control on New Caldonia in the South Pacific. These experiences led him to a lifelong professional interest in mosquito biology and mosquito control. After returning from Service, he attended Sam Houston State Teachers College from 1946 to 1948, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Following 1 ½ years as a biology teacher in Groveton, Texas, Long returned to SHSTC were he earned an MA degree in Biology in 1951, working under Mr. Frank A. Cowan. Following one year as high school biology teacher in Houston and one year on the faculty of biology at Lamar Institute of Technology (now Lamar University) in Beaumont, Long entered the doctorate program (1953-1957) at the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in zoology with a minor in botany. He studied mosquito biology under Professor Osmond P. Breland, who, incidentally, was a student of Alfred Kinsey, the expert in human sexuality at Indiana University. 

Dr. Long’s first faculty assignment was as associate Professor of Biology and Department Director at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he remained for three years. Interested in coming back to East Texas, Dr. Long was hired in 1959 as Associate Professor of Biology at Sam Houston State Teachers College, and was appointed Department Director and full professor in 1961. He remained as Department Director until 1972 when he returned to the regular faculty.

During Dr. Long’s tenure as Department Director, he increased the number of Ph.D.-level faculty positions from four to 16, replacing three faculty having the MA degree with Ph.D.-trained  faculty. These new faculty had a lasting impact on the programs in the Biology Department. Among the 17 Ph.D.- level faculty hired by Dr. Long, 12 served 25 years or more with Dr Harold Foerster serving 42 years. Among this group of 12, the median tenure was 32 years of service on the faculty. This growth in the Biology Department paralleled the growth of SHSTC, which became Sam Houston State College in 1965 and then Sam Houston State University in 1969.  From 1961 through 1972, fall enrollment increased from 5044 to 10,438. During this period, university enrollments were increasing significantly throughout the U. S. as “Baby Boomers” began attending college.  However, university enrollments leveled off in the 1970s, and the enrollment at SHSU was only at 10,685 in the fall of 1987.  Following rapid growth during the past five years, the fall 2006 enrollment at SHSU was 15,935.

Dr. Long helped establish faculty hiring practices that soon were incorporated by other programs across the university.  Unlike his predecessors, he set up faculty committees to advertise, screen and interview job applicants from across the country. These hiring procedures moved the Department, and the University, away from a highly inbred status, where it was common to hire back our own, to a diverse Ph.D.- level faculty trained in institutions from across the nation. He further strengthened the quality of the teaching program by assigning only faculty to teach lectures, rather the previous custom of having graduate students teach lecture sections in introductory biology courses. Graduate students were assigned to laboratory teaching only. The graduate program expanded to the point where 20 graduate teaching fellowships were awarded each semester in the early 1970’s. To help manage the expanding introductory laboratory teaching program, Dr. Long established the position of Laboratory Coordinator in 1968 with the hiring of a fulltime, MA-level staff person. The following individuals served as Laboratory Coordinators, and all played significant roles in the Biology program:
1968-74 Wayne Prince, 1974-79 Robert Phelps, 1979-81 Jerry Rutledge, 1981-90 Leanna Smith, and 1990-present Lori Henderson Rose.

Following his return to regular faculty status, Dr. Long made significant contributions to Departmental curriculum development, assisted in the acquisition of the old Huntsville State Fish Hatchery for use as the SHSU Center for Biological Field Studies. He also played an important role in the planning of new departmental facilities in the Lee Drain Building, constructed in 1984. In addition, Dr. Long served for 20 years as editor of the Department’s annual alumni newsletter, which has helped maintain strong ties with Departmental alumni. He also served for 36 years on the university alumni committee, and was chairman of this group for 15 years.

Dr. Long was a dedicated teacher of biology and introduced this subject to several thousand students during his tenure with the Department. Many former students still comment on the instruction that they received in his introductory biology and entomology classes. He was thoughtful in the selection and preparation of class topics, and was particularly effective in the laboratory. Dr. Long served as an effective mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students, serving as thesis advisor to 15 master's degree students. Many of these students obtained additional advanced degrees and have made significant contributions as professional biologists in teaching and research.

As a practicing scientist and science educator, Dr. Long made significant contributions to these professions and to several professional organizations. In 1966, he was a founding father of TUEBS (Texas Undergraduate Education in the Biological Sciences), an organization that, until recently, met yearly to consider curriculum matters of common interest to area junior and senior colleges. Throughout his career, Dr. Long played a key role in the activities of the Texas Academy of Science. While serving as President of this organization, he was responsible for revising the TAS constitution and placing the academy on a sound financial footing. 

As a mosquito biologist, Dr. Long was a long-time participant and leader in the activities of the American Mosquito Control Associations. In 1998 he received the distinguished service award from this organization for his 13 years of service as editor of their national newsletter. Dr. Long also provided significant, long-term service to the Texas Mosquito Control Association. For 25 years he organized and coordinated their annual Spring workshops and served as treasurer of the organization from1987 to 2001. 

As a researcher in the biological sciences, Dr. Long is nationally recognized for his work with Texas mosquitoes. He is one of the few scientists in the state knowledgeable about species of mosquitoes native to Texas. He and his students published numerous articles on the ecology and distribution of important Texas mosquito species.  On a yearly basis, Dr. Long, accompanied by other Texas entomologists, visited different regions of Texas to monitor local mosquito populations. This information has proven useful in the control of mosquito species that transmit human disease. 

In summary, Dr. James D. Long has made lasting and significant contributions to teaching in the biological sciences, to research in mosquito biology, and to service both within the university, across the state and at the national level. In recognition of his many accomplishments in education, Dr. Long was awarded Professor Emeritus status by the University upon his retirement in 1999.

DNA electrophoresis showing the inserts in eight different (Escherichia coli) clones. We are cloning promoters from Mycobacterium smegmatis which are active in stationary phase.

Primm Lab

The Steelcolor Shiner (Cyprinella whipplei) is a common minnow that consumes terrestrial and aquatic insects and is an important player in regulating nutrient dynamics in stream ecosystems.

Hargrave Lab

Habitat assessment and inventories of small mammal populations.

Thies Lab

Reconstructing the paleoenvironment of northwestern Botswana by comparing indigenous species with fossil material excavated from two cave systems.

Thies Lab

The orangethroat darter (Etheostoma spectabile) is a common darter that consumes benthic grazing invertebrates affecting a stream primary productivity and creating a trophic cascade within an aquatic ecosystem.

Hargrave Lab

A collaboration with Dr. Howard K. Reinert at the College of New Jersey to investigate habitat use of the Boa constrictor which has recently invaded the island of Aruba. Potential niche overlap could become a concern for the conservation of the endangered Aruba Island Ratttlesnake.

Lutterschmidt Lab

Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a purple photosynthetic bacteria, whose genome has been completely sequenced and fully annotated.

Choudhary Lab

Methyl green agar plates for examining whether microorganisms synthesize and secrete DNAse enzymes which degrade extracellular DNA for nutrient acquisition.

Primm Lab

The desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) of California's and Mexico's Peninsular Ranges is a federally listed endangered species. Physiological adaptations allowing this large mammal to survive desert conditions are studied in Turner's lab.

Turner Lab

A chromatogram of DNA sequences from various clones.

Choudhary Lab

A gregarine (Nubenocephalus secundus) parasitizing the midgut epithelium of the blue-ringed dancer (Argia sedula). This is one of many new gregarine species described from an investigation for the biodiversity of these aquatic insect parasites.

T. Cook Lab

Parental feeding rates to nestlings are monitored at nests of Carolina Wrens as part of a study on parental investment strategies.

Neudorf Lab

A unicellular bi-flagellated alga (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) is a model organism for studying the inctracellular signaling mechanisms that control movement of eukaryotic cilia and flagella.

Gaillard Lab

A genus of parasitic plants (Harveya) depends entirely on its hosts for water, minerals, and photosynthates. Such plants are of unique interest in molecular evolution and systematics.

Randle Lab

A fossil jaw of a gerbil lying outside of Gcwhihaba cave, Botswana. Gerbils are important indicators for paleoenvironmental reconstruction in the region.

Lewis Lab

A radio-tracked female Northern Cardinal as part of a study on extra-pair mating strategies.

Neudorf Lab

The white-tailed deer persists in historic home ranges despite encroaching development. Studies of urbanization influences fecundity, distribution, enzootic and epizootic disease, and parasites are of interest.

Turner Lab

Chromatophore is the photosynthetic apparatus of R. sphaeroides which allows this organism to harvest light energy.

Choudhary Lab

Female timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) demonstrate seasonal differences in baseline and stress-induced hormone responses due to reproductive condition. Corticosterone is significantly higher in gravid females due to stressors related to reproduction.

Lutterschmidt Lab

By examining what causes variation in modern African rodents, like this gerbil, we can better understand how environments have changed where we find their fossil ancestors.

Lewis Lab

A population of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells exhibiting phototaxis, migration toward light. Some pharmacological agents inhibit phototaxis by inhibiting flagellar motility of the cells.

Gaillard Lab

Species-specific mange mite recorded for the first time in Texas from 6-year-old male white-tailed deer. Infection of the deer may be related to effects of crowding in rural/urban deer herds.

Turner Lab

The southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster) is a common stream minnow that consumes benthic algae, playing an important role in the regulation of periphyton biomass in small headwater streams.

Hargrave Lab

Male Northern Cardinals are banded and measured as part of a study of extra-pair mating behavior.

Neudorf Lab

We are investigating the reproductive timing and potential of the Boa constrictor which has recently invaded the island of Aruba and has become a concern for the conservation efforts of the endangered Aruba Island Rattlesnake.

Lutterschmidt Lab

Distribution, abundance, and reproduction of rural/urban deer herds are a growing concern in southeast Texas. Habitat impacts relative to human encroachment and high deer populations are being studied by Turner's lab.

Turner Lab

A large lineage of small moths (Gelechioidea) remains poorly known in the Nearctic, with only 30% of its species described. Modern morphological and molecular systematics are used with behavioral and ecological data to study and infer systematic relationships.

Bucheli Lab

A gregarine (Nubenocephalus secundus) parasitizing the intestine of the blue-ringed dancer (Argia sedula) by attaching to the epithelium with a long slender epimerite and a wide "suction cup"-like protomerite at its anterior.

T. Cook Lab

The reptile fauna from northwestern Botswana, including this chameleon, is helping us better understand how and why the climate has changed in this region over the last two million years.

Lewis Lab

This neotropical hemipteran (Neoplea absona) in the family Pleidae was a specimen used to revise the genus. Pleids, or pygmy backswimmers, are predators of micro-crustaceans in stagnant waters.

J. Cook Lab

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