Where have all the parasitologists gone?
Peter W Pappas
ppappas at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Thu Dec 15 14:51:25 EST 1994
In response to K. Prestwood's and T. Ruhnke's contributions, I have a few more
comments. Tim's correct --- make sure every student can teach introductory
anatomy/physiology. This is a "bread and butter" course in our department,
enrolling over 1000 students per year (over 4 quarters) from at least 7
different departments across campus ---- our majors do not take it. We have a
difficult time finding people who are (1) willing and (2) qualified to teach
it. Like Tim, we too have seen dramatic increases in undergraduate biology
enrollments in the past few years. Some of this increase can be attributed to
students' increased interests in such "gee-whiz" stuff like genetic
engineering, biotechnology, etc., or changes in undergraduate curricula (in
which there is an increased emphasis on biological and physical sciences), but
it's also due to many more students interested in professional school. Like
Tim, I too get paid with taxpayers' dollars to educate taxpayers' kids (many of
whom are just killing time at mom and dad's expense), and it's a great job.
I even get an opportunity (I like to call it that) to teach the second quarter
of introductory non-majors biology course --- indeed, a unique experience even
if one disregards the large class size >450. Tim seems to be in a unique
situation at ESU, since he has two other colleagues with similar interests.
Hell, in the College of Biological Sciences at OSU (which consists of six
departments and about 80 faculty), I think I'm the only person who calls
him/herself a parasitologist. The other parasitologists are all in the Vet.
School. And that brings me to one final comment regarding K. Prestwood's
message. I understand and appreciate her concern who's going to identify all
the parasites, and there's no doubt that this will be a problem. Her example
of Cryptosporidium is an excellent example; the Ohio EPA has been looking for
people to look for this parasite. But who's going to do it? To cut to the
quick, it's not going to be faculty at large universities, since identifying
parasites will never get you tenure. We may not like this situation, but it's
a fact of life.
And finally, thanks to John Janovy for stirring things up. This is almost more
fun that working in the lab!
Peter W. Pappas, Professor/Chairperson, Department of Zoology,
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210 USA
E-mail: pappas.3 at osu.edu; FAX (614)-292-2030,
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