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Special Topics Courses for Spring 2015

Biol 4950, 001, Professional Writing: Research Biologists, Scott Lanyon

The primary purpose of this course is to prepare students to write a personal statement and a research project proposal.  These statements can be used in graduate school applications and/or in applications for a graduate fellowship proposal (the focus will be on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program). During the announced meeting time, we will:  1) discuss a variety of approaches to proposal writing, 2) talk about the importance of knowing the audience for whom you are writing, 3) discuss the proposal review process, 4) discuss strategies for writing these two statements, 5) discuss the role of researchers in communicating science to the public (NSF's "Broader Impacts" criterion), 6) participate in a number of "Pair & Share" exercises to provide feedback on proposal drafts, and 7) discuss time management and a variety of other professional development topics. 

In addition to the announced meeting time, students will be required to get together once a week in small groups (3-4 students each) outside of class to discuss their proposals and to provide each other with feedback.

BIOL 3700, 001, The Human-Animal Relationship, Jane Phillips

Sec 001 of this seminar is designed for and limited to CBS majors.  In it, we will explore philosophical, ethical, and practical aspects of our interactions with animals, first on a personal scale (as pets, food, recreation, work animals, pests), then focus on our interactions with animals in our scientific work (e.g., in medical, behavioral, ecological studies.) While we will usually be studying this from the Western culture viewpoint, we will also look at animal use in other cultures.  In the end, the student will have a background to move toward a deeper understanding of this complex relationship.  There will be weekly readings (10-30 pages) that will be used as a basis of discussions and reflections and one longer term paper in a relevant area of the student's choosing.


Biol 3700, 003 Molecular Biology and Society, David Kirkpatrick and Paul Siliciano

Awaiting a description

Biol 3700, 004 Earth's Smallest Predators, Clarence Lehman and Shelby Williams

Imagine a dangerous predator of humans. Do you picture a saber-toothed tiger or the bacteria that causes tuberculosis? Humans’ most dangerous predators are now vastly smaller than our bodies. In this class we will use ecological models to explore and describe the consequences of such miniscule predators that cause diseases of humans, and also of wild and domestic animals, and of plants.

The course is appropriate for students from a broad range of backgrounds and interests, particularly if you are interested in human or veterinary medicine, public health, or basic research. After the course you will be familiar with broad patterns of diseases, including transmission, epidemic growth, using R programming language to model disease, and will be able to describe the usefulness of disease models in related fields such as conservation biology.