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Teaching

Currently I am teaching Evolution (BIOL 415) and team-teaching the SoLS Graduate Core Course (BIOL 702).

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The eminent biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once wrote, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” (The American Biology Teacher, March 1973; 35:125-129). Biology 415 is an introduction to evolutionary biology with a focus on the processes that have been (and are currently) responsible for the generation and maintenance of biological diversity. In this class, we explore pattern and process in biology from an evolutionary point of view. We a) examine leading theories of evolution and the primary mechanisms underlying evolutionary change, b) discuss the principal methods used in evolutionary biology, c) interpret empirical data, d) review the history of life on Earth, including man, and e) conclude with a discussion of evolutionary theory as it applies to the welfare of modern humans.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students should be able to:

  • Define organic evolution and its 4 mechanisms with supporting examples
  • Think like scientists and apply evolutionary thinking to any biological problem
  • Describe the relevance of evolution to your lives and to any field of modern biology

BIOL 702 COURSE DESCRIPTION: The objective of this course is to help incoming graduate students prepare for independent research and careers in the biological sciences.  Content centers on the fundamentals of research design and the development of professional skills needed for success in a range of careers. This course will also build skills needed for the successful completion of the comprehensive exam (for PhD students) and MS and PhD defenses.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students should be able to:

  • Evaluate scientific literature critically in terms of its scientific merit
  • Express ideas clearly both orally and in technical scientific writing by analyzing, summarizing, and synthesizing scientific material
  • Develop a scientific idea based on the literature and design a study to address the hypothesis
  • Describe the key elements of research design, including ethical and permitting issues, controls, and analyses appropriate for the problem being addressed
  • Communicate a complex scientific topic effectively to non-scientists

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