"Jeff Houlahan" <jeffhoul at unbsj.ca> wrote in message
news:d3e6tf$1a7$1 at mercury.rfcgr.mrc.ac.uk...
> Hi, MolEvol members. Like many Biology departments in universities across
> Canada, our university, the University of New Brunswick at Saint John, has
> decided to phase out the comprehensive exam in favour of a proposal
> /qualifying exam as part of the requirements for completion of a Ph. D.
> e rationale for this, as we understand it, is that students should not be
> xpected to have a detailed understanding of the entire discipline of
> y. A proposal defense/qualifying exam is only expected to test a student
> n areas relevant to their Ph. D. research. This is a concept we support,
> ut it does raise the concern that students could graduate with a Ph. D. in
> Biology without understanding some very basic biological concepts if those
> concepts are not relevant to their project. For example, students doing
> search that has no explicit evolutionary context could graduate without
> wing the difference between evolution and natural selection. Our
> n group has suggested that one way to deal with this is to develop a list
> f =E2=80=98The 50 things every biologist should know=E2=80=99 and make
> e 50 topics fair game in a qualifying exam/proposal defence. Thus, our
> l is to put together such a list. We have put together a preliminary list
> of 60 different questions (maybe) every biologist should be able to answer
> (see that list below), but we are looking for broader input. We would
> to hear from anybody who would like to add a question or questions to the
> list, or make some comment about the questions that are already on the
> =2E Ultimately, we will be putting together a survey to rank the
> ns we get and identify the =E2=80=9950 things every biologist should know=
> =E2=80=99 as ranked by survey responses. We will distribute that list to
> his group when the survey is complete. Thanks for any comments you can
> vide on this.
>> The UNBSJ Ecology discussion group
>> 1.=09What is an atom?
> 2.=09What is a molecule?
> 3.=09What causes water to be green?
> 4.=09What are the two laws of thermodynamics?
Either this is a typo or I am getting old; I could have sworn there were 3
in my day.