Topic: Teaching Evolution to Undergraduate Nonmajors: An Uphill Climb
Date/Time: October 3, 2012 – 6:30pm
Location: Science & Engineering Library – Room 090/070 (basement)
Speaker: Susan Fisher, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Entomology
In big body count courses such as Biology 101, it is typical for more than 50% of the audience to view the topic of evolution with hostility. And, while these students will not become scientists, they will become teachers and policy makers and voters. They therefore need to have at least an elementary understanding of evolution. The pedagogical question is how to reach this audience when most of them are predisposed to reject evolution out of hand before they even enter the class.
To this end, and working with the Center for Life Sciences Education, we developed a multi-pronged strategy for increasing understanding and acceptance of evolution. The major focus was to bring eminent scientists and theologians to Columbus to discuss the nexus of faith and reason. We also revamped lectures on evolution, required student papers on evolution and scored progress in meeting pedagogical goals using a standardized exam. Using these interventions, we were able to increase understanding and acceptance of evolution.
About our Speaker:
Susan Fisher has been a faculty member at OSU for 31 years. She has a BS in Botany (1977), MS inBiology (1979), and Ph.D. in Entomology (1981). Her research expertise is in environmental toxicology with emphasis on food chain transfer of persistent contaminants. She has also done a lot of research on control of aquatic nuisance species such as the zebra mussel.
She has taught a variety of courses at the graduate level, including: insecticide toxicology; environmental toxicology and chemistry; and environmental risk assessment. At the undergraduate level, she has taught Biology 101 for 10 years and more recently, she has developed new courses in diverse areas: Pests, Plagues, Politics and Poisons (cultural entomology); the Biology of Hope and Belief; Chemicals that have changed history.
Science & Engineering Library (see on campus map)- Room 090/070 (basement). Food/drinks available via Terra Byte Cafe or vending on first floor. The Tuttle Park Place Garage has visitor parking. See costs and location information.
No RSVP is needed – just show up!:
– Daniel S. Dotson
Mathematical Sciences Librarian & Science Education Specialist