Teaching

My teaching aims are to help students develop the critical and analytical skills they need to be successful in any aspect of biology and to encourage a lifelong interest in learning about the natural world. Detailed knowledge of taxonomy and systematics, anatomy and physiology, and evolutionary processes are important aspects of the biology and health science curricula.  However, biological information and technology are progressing so quickly that we need to balance teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills with teaching students specific tools or techniques.

At Otterbein University, I teach Introductory Biology lecture and lab; Wildlife Rehabilitation practicum; Wildlife Medicine practicum; Animal Reproduction lecture and lab; Conservation Biology lecture; First Year Seminar: How to Date Like an Animal; Large Animal Ecology and Conservation in South Africa.  Previously, as a visiting assistant professor in the Biology Department at James Madison University, I taught Organismal Biology lecture and lab; Human Physiology lecture and lab; Animal Physiology lab; Evolutionary Analysis lecture; and Introductory Ecology lab.

Below are brief summaries of classes I am currently teaching at Otterbein University.

Large Animal Ecology and Conservation in South Africa   This travel course exposes students to a range of conservation experiences in South Africa.  Various training and conservation practices are examined in national parks, private reserves managed for game production, sanctuaries and zoos.  In collaboration with Hal Lescinsky, my colleague at Otterbein, we also investigate South Africa’s history, customs and values as these critically inform local conservation attitudes and practices.

 

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How to Date Like an Animal In this course, students learn how their mating and dating behaviors also exist in the animal world.  Grounded in reproductive biology and evolutionary theory, this class will help students understand how their mate preferences, courtship behavior and reproductive strategies can lead to successful outcomes.  Because human sexuality is such a complicated issue, I aim to create an environment where students can explore a diverse number of topics in a safe and respectful manner.  We use popular science texts, scientific literature, journals and observations in this course.  The central text I use is “Wild Connections” by the fabulous Jen Verdolin.

http://www.jenniferverdolin.com/

Buy her book here and check it out for yourself!

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