Course Topics

BIO 151: Principles of Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity (Fall)

An exploration of the diversity of life, its origins, and interactions among organisms and their environment. We introduce key concepts in evolution and ecology, provide an overview of the features of major taxonomic groups and their evolutionary relationships, and explore some of the practical and ethical implications of biodiversity. Through laboratory and field investigations, students develop their ability to make observations, analyze data, read primary literature, and communicate results.

BIO 140/240: Ecology of the Southwest (Jterm)

Field study of the ecology of the arid Southwest, with a focus on adaptations of organisms to arid conditions and understanding the challenges of setting environmental policy. Course activities include hiking in the deserts, mountains, and riparian areas of Arizona; daily readings and discussions; a paper exploring the ethical dimensions of environmental policy; and a research project which may be qualitative. (Study Away)

BIO 256: Biostatistics (Fall)

This course considers the application of statistical inference to the life sciences; numerous examples will be taken from the health sciences and environmental sciences. Emphasis will be on hypothesis testing and the importance of experimental design.  (Students regularly report that this was one of the most useful courses that they took while at Luther.  At heart, this is an exploration of how we know what we know in science.)

BIO 354: Evolutionary Biology (Spring)

An exploration of current questions in evolutionary biology through lecture, lab, and discussion of the primary literature. Topics include the role of natural selection and drift in human evolution; inferring the origins of new diseases; the effects of genomic conflict on speciation; and the challenges that hybridization poses to understanding the tree of life. (I can’t imagine a biology course that I’d rather teach!  Evolutionary theory is so elegant and so comprehensive.)

PAID 450: English Theatre: Society and the Human Condition (Jterm 2017)

This course is a study of London and Stratford theatre in its contexts - the history, culture, and values of England and the modern world. The theatre, the richest in the world in its variety and depth (from highbrow to farce, Shakespeare to Stoppard), serves as focus for exploration of the cities London and Stratford, and of the intellectual, aesthetic, and moral territory of drama.