I studied science in college, but I loved taking history and English courses also. As a biology professor, I enjoy talking to my colleagues outside of the sciences to compare notes about approaches they use in their classrooms to engage students. Different fields of study offer unique approaches to understanding our world, and this provides me with new ways to approach questions and to share my enthusiasm for these questions with my students.
In my Engagements class, yes, we will consider some really cool questions from biology. Even more importantly, however, you will learn approaches that will help you to evaluate empirical evidence, to interpret data and show you how to articulate problems in an empirical framework. My hope is that you will be able to use these empirical approaches in your future classes, no matter what field you decide to major in.
As a biologist, I am interested in understanding the wonders of our natural world. My primary research questions focus on aging – do all animals and plants grow old and show signs of aging, like humans, or can some species escape aging? (There are some that do escape!) I use the tools of evolutionary biology and ecology to address these questions, and I teach courses on evolution, ecology, and aging in the Department of Biology.