During a departmental retreat in November 2000, the department aligned its faculty along three nodes:
At the time we recognized that many if not most of the faculty could actually occupy more than one node (based on their research expertise), but it was decided that each faculty member would have just one primary nodal affinity. We have found this nodal structure useful while planning future departmental positions as well as for developing our undergraduate and graduate curricula. Although nodal division is useful for these purposes, we also wish to emphasize the cohesiveness of our department as exemplified by our Mission Statement:
As a unit in the College of Science at Southern Illinois University, the Department of Plant Biology's mission is to discover, share, and apply knowledge about plants and fungi and their interactions with their environments through: multi- and inter-disciplinary teaching, research, and community and professional service; leadership at community, national, and international levels; and collaboration within and outside the College and University in the following areas: molecular biology, phylogeny and systematics, and environmental and conservation sciences.