I agree 100% !!

> With sincere respect to all of you in the fields of microbiology,
> genetics, and other laboratory-based disciplines of the life sciences, I
> contend the "Campbell Essential Biology" approach is exactly what is wrong
> with biology education today.
> Nearly all undergraduate and high school introductory biology courses are
> written as if EVERY student is going on to med school, nursing, or a
> career in a lab-based science. I agree it's important for an undergrad
> course to make mention of cytology, DNA, photosynthesis, etc., but I
> question the real value to students of any non-major textbook in which 12
> chapters deal with cell-DNA and ecology, ecosystems, and the biosphere are
> relegated to the last three chapters.
> My guess is that 95% or more of non-majors will never have any really
> practical use for information about cell-DNA. It's complicated stuff that
> their physicians and pharmacists need to know, but what would be of
> infinitely greater value is for everyone to be familiar with basic
> principles of ecology, plant-animal interactions, pollination biology, and
> the like. Knowing about these things will enable students in general to
> understand how humans fit into and affect the world around them, and such
> understanding will help them make informed decisions about such things as
> overfishing, watersheds and wetlands, use of household pesticides and
> fertilizers--to say nothing of current controversial topics like global
> climate change, fracking, etc.
> We all teach what we know, of course, and the vast majority of high school
> biology teachers know what they learned in an undergrad biology courses
> taught from the "pre-med" perspective. I know from 25-plus years in the
> classroom and lab that for kids not going off to med-school the "pre-med"
> approach is often a turn-off to science, while a course that emphasizes
> ecology, the environment, field work, etc., is a turn-on. I also taught
> undergrad biology and know such is the case with many college students.
> Cheers,
> On May 27, 2012, at 10:48 AM, Helena Puche wrote:
>> David,
>> I used "Campbell Essential Biology" by E.J. Simon, J.B.Reece and J.L.
>> Dickey. It is a book for non-biology  majors that has 20 chapters, all
>> of them with a focus on evolution and examples, and nice drawings and
>> pictures. Twelve of the 20 chapters are geared toward cell-DNA, then
>> three chapters on taxonomy and systematics. The last three include
>> populations & ecology, communities & ecosystems, and the biosphere.
>> Therefore, you will have to add extra material to recreate those last
>> topics.
>> I created  several evolution labs using beans or the web pages below,
>> designed a ppt to introduce Darwin's liand thoughts, and added many lab
>> activities to learn about mark-recapture techniques, estimating
>> population growth rate & size, population growth models, climate change,
>> and identifying biomes.
>> Evolution links to check are:
>> http://video.pbs.org/video/1300397304/
>> http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/devitt_02
>> I used those as base for the lab activities.
>> Hope this helps.
>> Helena
>> Helena Puche, Ph. D.
>> Adjunct Assistant Professor
>> University of Illinois at Chicago
>> Biological Sciences, 3464 SES, MC
>> 066
>> 845 West Taylor Street
>> Chicago, IL 60607hpu...@uic.edu
>> --- On Fri, 5/25/12, Johnson, David R <drjohns...@utep.edu> wrote:
>> From: Johnson, David R <drjohns...@utep.edu>
>> Subject: [ECOLOG-L] Non-Majors Biology
>> Date: Friday, May 25, 2012, 2:49 PM
>> Greetings,
>> I am teaching a "contemporary biology" course for non-science majors in
>> the fall and for the first time I am fortunate to be able to organize
>> the course at my discretion. Effectively, I can present any material I
>> wish as long as I hit broad themes such as Cell Theory and Evolution.
>> While this is certainly doable, I am struggling deciding exactly what
>> content to present. The course is meant to present the science of
>> contemporary issues that may be important and/or interesting to the
>> non-science student rather than a broad survey course encompassing all
>> of biology. There is another such survey course with a set syllabus that
>> I am not teaching, and there are two other sections of contemporary
>> biology that are focusing on genetics. I would like to focus on the many
>> ecological issues that both affect and are affected by humans. My
>> struggle involves the fact that this may be the only (or last) biology
>> these students get before we cast them out into the world.
>> So I want to be sure and cover all my bases.
>> I am writing Ecolog with two questions. First, what is the relative
>> merit of including as much biology as possible as opposed to focusing on
>> fewer but perhaps more directly relevant ecological topics? These
>> students will most likely not become scientists, and certainly won't
>> need to memorize the structure of all the amino acids, for example. On
>> the other hand, would I be cheating them somehow by not providing enough
>> information to them for making informed decisions on topics outside of
>> my direct area of expertise, such as developmental biology and stem
>> cells?
>> The other question I have involves textbooks. Is anyone aware of a text
>> (or perhaps pop-science books) designed for the non-science major that
>> focuses on ecology, in particular the involvement of humans in
>> ecological systems? I haven't been able to find something I like and am
>> looking for recommendations.
>> Thanks and I'll circulate a summary response if/when the discussion runs
>> its course.
>> Cheers,
>> David
>> David R. Johnson PhD.
>> Postdoctoral Research Associate
>> Systems Ecology Lab
>> University of Texas at El Paso
>> drjohns...@utep.edu
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