Hi Howie Neufeld,
I'm going to suggest that rather than requiring a particular
course, such as calculus, that you identify a set of courses that
quantitative reasoning based on the logic of mathematics
as it applies to measured quantities.
This set might include calculus courses that emphasize practical
applications of the rules of calculus.
It might include statistics course that focus on writing the
model instead of 'name the test' or 'get the pvalue.'
It might include a course in experimental design.
It might include physics or chemistry courses were there is
application to biology.
It might include a course in physiology, a discipline with
a strong and long established quantitative basis.
It might include a course in genetics where the quantitative
analysis is central.
It might include a course in network theory, as it applies
to biological systems.
And almost any course labelled 'modelling' would be part
of such a list.
Any list of course will be constrained to what is on the go
at any one university, or what can be arranged at a distance.
On 2016-10-18 17:34, Andrew Wright wrote:
I agree with Carrie too and I already responded to Howard, but he's my
response again for you all:
The answer is simply 'yes'. Although biology was the science for
non-mathematicians back in the day, more and more modelling is coming
into the discipline and students will need a reasonable mathematical
foundation to cope in biology in the future. Even if only a basic
foundation is provided, this will help students understand innovative
statistical approaches and more complex models that touch on their
fields, even if they are unable to use them themselves.
More generally there should be more maths requirements in Biology.
Otherwise students will simply fall behind.
Andrew Wright, Ph.D.
VaquitaAreBrowncoats: Where Sci-Fi meets Science, the Cosmos meets
Conservation and Firefly meets Flipper. Shiny
"We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look
after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the
world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it." Douglas
GNU Terry Pratchett
On 19 October 2016 at 06:20, John Anderson <jander...@coa.edu> wrote:
I am fascinated by this discussion and would love to hear more
points of view. As far as carrie's excellent post, I guess I am not
sure why one would expect a Calculus course to do her 6 points any
more than many other classes? I was required to take two terms of
calculus as an undergrad Zoology major back when there were such
majors, plus a year of physics. We had to take a year of physical
Chemistry before we could take Biology, and then could only enroll
in Biology if we simultaneously took Organic Chem. It always seemed
to me that a LOT of these classes were more about getting rid of
people than educating them. Weirdly, stats was NOT required. In
all the years since I have used calculus (briefly) in a course on
theoretical population biology, I use Chemistry primarily when i
teach physiology, but professionally I use Stats all the time.
Talking with colleagues, this pattern seems by no means unique.
On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 11:04 AM, Joseph Russell
I agree with Carrie here! When I was a Marine Biology undergrad at
Stockton University in NJ, we were required to take two semesters of
physics. However, the physics I and II courses that we took were not
the same as would have been taken by a physics major. Our Physics
courses were titled "physics for life sciences" which narrowed down
the concepts to those that applied to people in the life sciences
field. I believe the calculus courses that we were required to take
were standard calculus, but I could see something like this working
as well, where the calculus courses would not be like a calculus
course taken by a math major, but rather, the curriculum would be
designed so that the concepts and learning objectives would suit the
field of study. Carrie has provided an excellent list below with the
6 points of valuable competencies for prospective biologists.
JOSEPH RUSSELL, MNR
_Wildlife Management and Recreational Planning Research Fellow_
Galloway, NJ 08205
(609) 287-0596 
Sent from my iPhone
On Oct 18, 2016, at 10:18 AM, Carrie Eaton <cea...@unity.edu> wrote:
I responded with a few details already to Howard. But I’ll just
generally say that if you are thinking about curricular redesign,
I’d like to suggest backward design based on concepts and
competencies that employers need and which have been well identified
by many national level reports. For example, Vision and Change.
Vision and Change identifies 6 vital competencies for all biology
1. ABILITY TO APPLY THE PROCESS OF SCIENCE
2. ABILITY TO USE QUANTITATIVE REASONING
3. ABILITY TO USE MODELING AND SIMULATION
4. ABILITY TO TAP INTO THE INTERDISCIPLINARY NATURE OF SCIENCE
5. ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE AND COLLABORATE WITH OTHER
6. ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCIENCE AND
Well-designed Calculus courses can help you reach many of these
goals. More traditional courses in calculus may not meet these
goals. I encourage you to consider if you advocate (as you do below)
for its exclusion, that you consider alternatives to help students
meet these same competencies or consider reaching out to your
colleagues in mathematics (which I know well) to brainstorm how to
better meet the needs of your department.
FROM: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news
[mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] ON BEHALF OF Neufeld, Howard S.
SENT: Monday, October 17, 2016 8:09 PM
SUBJECT: [ECOLOG-L] Should Calculus Be Required of All
Dear All -
I am participating in a study here at Appalachian State University
about whether we should restructure the mathematics and statistics
requirements for our biology/ecology majors. For example, should we
require all majors to take an entire semester of calculus?
I have written an explanation of why we are looking into this, and
you can read the essay by going to this link on Google Drive:
I would welcome comments from those interested in this subject,
which would help us out here at Appalachian State in our discussions
of this important subject.
Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, Professor
Director, Southern Appalachian Environmental Research and Education
Chair, Appalachian Interdisciplinary Atmospheric Research Group
Department of Biology
572 Rivers St.
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608
Tel: 828-262-2683 ; Fax 828-262-2127 
Academic: http://biology.appstate.edu/faculty-staff/104 
Personal: http://www.appstate.edu/~neufeldhs/index.html 
SAEREC: http://saerec.appstate.edu 
AppalAIR: http://appalair.appstate.edu 
Academic: http://biology.appstate.edu/fall-colors 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FallColorGuy 
W.H. Drury Professor of Ecology/Natural History
College of the Atlantic
105 Eden St