Teaching

At Vassar College, I currently teach three courses.  See below for basic descriptions of each course and to view the most recent syllabus.


BIOL 106: Introduction to Biological Investigation
The focus of BIOL 106 is on the process of doing science. This course is not intended to be an overview of the entire field of biology, but rather teaches fundamental concepts in biology in a way that is relevant to experimental work in the laboratory or field. Hopefully, you will begin to learn how to think like a scientist!  Syllabus

BIOL 226: Animal Structure and Diversity
This course is a trip through the entire animal kingdom!  To fully understand and appreciate this diversity, we will spend considerable time on the evolutionary relationships between major groups of animals.  By the end of the semester you will appreciate not only the tremendous differences across the animal kingdom, but more importantly, the amazing similarities!  In laboratory, you will observe and sometimes handle live animals, noting their form and their behavior.  You will dissect preserved animals and compare external and internal anatomy among animal groups.  The first half of the semester will be a whirlwind survey of non-vertebrate animals, whereas the second half of the semester will allow us to focus in greater depth on just the vertebrates.  Syllabus

BIOL 340: Experimental Animal Behavior
Animal Behavior is a constantly growing and evolving field, particularly as technology allows us to study animals in ways not previously possible. This course focuses on the ways that experiments are used to isolate and understand animal behavior (hence the ‘Experimental’ in the title). We read 3-4 scientific articles per week (each week is a different topic), and each paper has a designated student in charge of leading discussion.  You should be prepared to read articles critically and thoroughly. We will read both classic (i.e., old) and new papers in order to understand how the way that scientists study animals has changed (or perhaps has not changed). The final project for the class is a mock grant proposal, which will even be blind peer-reviewed by your classmates!  Syllabus