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Ronald M. Coleman: Teaching
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Updated: October 9, 2014

Teaching Philosophy:

"Doceo ergo sum" -- I teach therefore I am.

One student at a time.

My goal as a teacher is not only to teach the subject material of a particular course, but more importantly, to help students improve their ability to think and communicate as a scientist. Some students find my courses hard; others find my courses to be extraordinarily helpful in developing a love for organismal biology. I focus on the incredible complexity and interrelationships of life, in particular, tradeoffs wherever they occur, whether that be in the intricacies of modern fisheries biology to the wonders of animal behavior.

I teach a diversity of courses, ranging from Bio 9, an introductory course for non-majors, to upper division biology courses such as Fisheries Biology, Animal Behavior and Ichthyology, to advanced graduate courses such as Behavioral Ecology, Advanced Fisheries and Advanced Ecology.

I do not employ multiple-choice testing and a student can expect to do a lot of writing in my courses. I find a dramatic increase in the ability of students to construct and write logical scientific arguments between the start and end of my courses and I think this greatly improves a student's future prospects whatever those might be. If this is the kind of thing that interests you, below is what I teach. If you are merely interested in a few easy credits, please look elsewhere.

Courses I teach:

 

Present:  
Fall 2014
Bio 1 Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 186B Ecological and Environmental Issues Seminar
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)
Bio 293 Research Conference
Spring 2015
Bio 1 Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

Bio 169

Animal Behavior

 

 

 

Past:  
Summer 2013
Bio 1 Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Fall 2013
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 186B Ecological and Environmental Issues Seminar
Bio 273 Graduate: Advanced Fishery Biology & Management
Spring 2014
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 100 Introduction to Scientific Analysis

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 260 Advanced Ecology

 

Past:  
Fall 2012
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)
Bio 186B Ecological and Environmental Issues Seminar
Bio 269 Graduate: Behavioral Ecology
Spring 2013 I am on sabbatical during the Spring 2013 semester. This means that for the most part I am available in my office and lab; however, I am not be teaching in the classroom during this semester. Mostly I am researching and writing my book on cichlid fishes.
Past:  
Fall 2011
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Spring 2012
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 221B Methods in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Bio 260 Advanced Ecology
Past:  
Fall 2010
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 186B Ecological and Environmental Issues Seminar
Bio 294F Graduate Seminar. Topic: Foundations of Life History
Spring 2011
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 100 Introduction to Scientific Analysis

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 221B Methods in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Past:  
Fall 2009
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 186B Ecological and Environmental Issues Seminar
Bio 294F Graduate Seminar. Topic: Alternative Reproductive Strategies
Spring 2010
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 269 Graduate: Behavioral Ecology
Past:  
Fall 2008
Bio 1 lab (Section 10) Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 292 Graduate: Biological Concepts
Past:  
Spring 2009
Bio 1 lab (Section 14) Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology
Bio 9 Our Living World: Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 273 Graduate: Advanced Fishery Biology & Management
Past:  
Fall 2007
Bio 165 Vertebrate Natural History
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Spring 2008
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 269 Graduate: Behavioral Ecology
Past:  
Fall 2006
Bio 165 Vertebrate Natural History
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 198A Honors Proseminar and Research
Bio 292 Graduate: Biological Concepts
Spring 2007

Bio 169

Animal Behavior
Bio 198B Honors Research and Seminar
Past:  
Fall 2005
Bio 165 Vertebrate Natural History
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 292 Graduate: Biological Concepts
Spring 2006
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)
Bio 169 Animal Behavior
Bio 269 Graduate: Behavioral Ecology
Past:  
Fall 2004
Bio 165 Vertebrate Natural History
Bio 198A Honors Proseminar and Research
Bio 292 Graduate: Biological Concepts
Spring 2005
Bio 169 Animal Behavior
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology (not usually taught in Spring)
Bio 198B Honors Research and Seminar
Bio 293 Research Conference
Past:  
Fall 2003
Bio 165 Vertebrate Natural History
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 186B Ecological and Environmental Issues Seminar
Bio 292 Graduate: Biological Concepts
Spring 2004
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)
Bio 169 Ethology (Animal Behavior)
Bio 269 Graduate: Behavioral Ecology
Past:  
Fall 2002
Bio 165 Vertebrate Natural History
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Spring 2003
Bio 11 Animal Biology
Bio 11 Animal Biology Laboratory
Bio 169 Ethology (Animal Behavior)
Past:  
Fall 2001
Bio 11 Animal Biology Laboratory
Bio 173 Principles of Fisheries Biology
Bio 294F Graduate Seminar. Topic: Parental Care
Spring 2002
Bio 11 Animal Biology Laboratory
Bio 162 Ichthyology (The Study of Fishes)

 

Course Descriptions:

Undergraduate level courses

Bio 1: Laboratory

Lab: Fall 2008: Section 10: Tuesday 1:00 to 3:30 pm

Prerequisite: current enrollement in Bio 1
Units: part of Bio 1

Bio 11: Animal Biology

[Note: this course is no longer taught and has been replaced by Bio 1]

Lecture: Mon, Wed, Fri 9-9:50am (3 hours total)

This course is a survey of the animal kingdom, with emphasis on structure, function, adaptations, and phylogenetic relationships of major animal groups. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours. Prerequisite: BIO 10. 4 units.

Text: Hickman, Roberts, Larson ( ) Biology of Animals. McGraw-Hill, San Francisco. Required.

 

 

 

 

Bio 11: Animal Biology Laboratory

Lab: Spring 2003: Section 2: Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:45am

This course is a survey of the animal kingdom, with emphasis on structure, function, adaptations, and phylogenetic relationships of major animal groups. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours.

Prerequisite: BIO 10
Units: 4.

Text: Hickman, C.P., Hickman, F.M. and L.B. Kats (2001 ) Laboratory Studies in Zoology. Tenth Edition. McGraw-Hill, San Francisco. Required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio 198A: Honors Proseminar and Research

If you are interested in the Honors program for the 2008/2009 academic year, contact me immediately.

Course website

Contemporary topics in biology selected by students in the course will form the basis for an introduction to scientific journals, the scientific method, and research as a professional pursuit. Each student develops a refined research proposal and prepares a seminar summarizing the proposal and the current state of knowledge in the topic area. Students will develop and refine their methodology under the direction of a faculty sponsor.

Syllabus

Field trips. None
Prerequisite: Open only to honors students in Biological Sciences who have an overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum of 3.0 GPA in biology courses (at least six units of upper division biology excluding BIO 106, 108, 194, 195, 197 and 199).
Graded: Credit/No Credit
Scheduling: Every fall; next offered Fall 2008
Units: 2

Text: Sindermann, Carl J. (2001) Winning the Games Scientists Play. Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 290pp.

ISBN: 0-7382-0425-0 Required.

 

 


 

Bio 198B: Honors Research and Seminar

If you are interested in the Honors program for the 2008/2009 academic year, contact me immediately.

Course website

Directed research involving completion of an independently conducted research project for which a proposal and methodology was developed in BIO 198A. Data collection, summary and analysis, and formulation of conclusions based on the data will be discussed periodically with a faculty sponsor. Culmination will consist of preparation of an undergraduate thesis and presentation of a seminar summarizing results and conclusions. Note: Open only to honors students in Biological Sciences.

Course fee: $15.

Prerequisite: BIO 198A. Open only to honors students in Biological Sciences who have an overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum of 3.0 GPA in biology courses (at least six units of upper division biology excluding BIO 106, 108, 194, 195, 197 and 199).
Graded: Credit/No Credit
Scheduling: Every spring, next offered Spring 2007
Units: 2
Text: No text.

 


Graduate-level courses

 

Bio 292: Biological Concepts

Course Website

Seminar: Tuesday, Thursday from 7pm to 8:15 pm (3 hours total).

Historical approach to the development of major concepts of the biological sciences. Examples of concepts may include molecular evolution, cell concept, gene concept, species concept, and ecosystem concept. Literature, seminars, and term paper will be used to develop concepts from ancient times to the present.

Scheduling: Every fall, next offered Fall 2008
Units: 3


Text: Mayr, E. (1997) This is Biology: The Science of the Living World. Harvard. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 323 pp. ISBN 0-674-88469-8 (pbk) Not Required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio 293: Research Conference

Scheduling: TBA (2 hours)

Presentation and discussion of graduate student and faculty research and current literature with emphasis on critical evaluation of research design, data analysis and presentation techniques. Note: Discussion two hours. May be taken twice for credit. Only two units may be applied to the University's requirement for 200-level courses.

Prerequisite: Graduate status and instructor permission.
Scheduling: Typically every semester
Units: 2

Text: none

 

 

Bio 294F: Graduate Seminar. Topic: Parental Care

Discussion: Wednesday 5:30 to 6:20 pm (1 hour)

We will be working our way through the book "The Evolution of Parental Care" by T.H. Clutton-Brock. The main focus of the course will be evolution, ecology and life-history but there will also be ample room for discussion of physiology as it pertains to parental care. The book is not limited to any one taxa and in fact attempts to cover all taxa, so people with diverse interests should find the topics relevant to their own area of interest. The book is divided into fourteen chapters, making it ideal for a seminar-type class.

Text: Clutton-Brock, T.H. (1991) The Evolution of Parental Care. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. 352 pp. Required

 

Pedagogical Interests:

Teaching of Evolution:

I am interested in how evolutionary concepts are taught in schools. I believe a clear understanding of evolution is essential for understanding biology at any level. I feel that too often evolution is taught as an adjunct topic rather than as the fundamental building block it is.

Teaching Tools:

http://www.csus.edu/nsm/about%20NSM/ITsupport.html

http://www.csus.edu/nsm/about%20NSM/resources.html

 

 

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