dumping plant bio?
mclaugh at augsburg.edu
Fri May 4 09:29:47 EST 2001
We have kept not only a required organismal introductory semester
which includes plants & fungi but also the requirement for one
upper-division organismal plant course (choice of two we offer) and
one upper division organismal animal course (choice of three we
offer) in addition to the other major requirements. So of course I'm
happy about that. Our reasoning is that we want to provide a
broad-based major which will provide education across the entire
range of our discipline. But your problem goes beyond liberal arts
The Univ. of Minnesota tried to dump its Plant Biology Dept.
a few years ago. The attempt failed, _partly_ because the faculty
were able to cite an NSF report which studied the fate of plant
biology and concluded that Plant Bio deptartments should be
maintained if appropriate attention was going to continue to be paid
to plants (as opposed to disappearing as emphasis shifted to microbes
& animal models). I don't know where you might find that report.
In any case, I am just paranoid enough to believe that when animal or
prokaryotically inclined collegues claim they'll somehow make the
curriculum include "enough" plant & fungal stuff, they may be sincere
but they are probably wrong.
On another note, as another respondant indicated, there is no
more justification for eliminating organismally focussed uper
division animal courses than for eliminating similar plant courses.
Organismal biology should remain a part of every college's
curriculum, but if we don't watch carefully, such courses get axed,
in the name of moderization. One way to help solve this problem is at
the hiring stage in all biology departments.
Esther G. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology
2211 Riverside Ave.
Minneapolis MN 55454 USA
612/330-1074 // FAX:612/330-1076
More information about the Plant-ed