Are plant diversity courses still needed for undergrads?

Nancy Harrison vulpia at
Thu Nov 28 08:43:43 EST 1996

In article <199611272123.NAA08716 at>, Koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU 

>These are very interesting questions that mandate
>a universal decision.  Where shall we go in teaching
>botany?  How much, at what level, divided in the
>cell, organismal, population etc plane or divided in
>the five-kingdom plane?  How comparative should our
>comparative courses be (should a plant be in a comparative
>anatomy course?)?
>I think a national decision should be made...but I
>cannot imagine how to do it properly/fairly.  You
>can set standards until you are blue in the face,
>but will curricula be developed EVERYWHERE to meet
>those standards?  As long as the US uses the property
>tax (the only one you can vote on) method for funding
>local schools, I think we are doomed to minimalist
>education.  Incoming students are biological blank
>slates in many cases.
(Some excellent stuff clipped out)

>I think our joy and duty rests in making the student
>a scientist first, biologist second, botanist third.
>Making the student a repository for knowledge (factoids)
>gleaned from real science is last on my current
>list of goals.  The body of factoids is just too large,
>and memorization too trivial, to move it up on my list.
>I know we have better careers waiting for our students
>than ones involving repeating back answers from a book.
Bravo, Dr. K! A wonderful summary of what is needed in biology education.
I particularly like your TF questions. Bringing up the subject of
"sex in plants" is always a shocker to the students, too!
Live long and prosper - NH
---Nancy Harrison, SRJC Life Sciences, Santa Rosa CA 95401 (with link to CNPS in Sonoma 

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