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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Erica T Cline
TESC 120
Tacoma Campus

Introductory Biology I

Covers ecology and evolution, including genetics, Mendelian inheritance, biodiversity of life forms, and conservation biology, as well as related chemical processes in the environment. Field trips and labs required. First in a series of introductory biology courses for science majors.

Class description

This class is the first in a three-quarter sequence designed to provide a foundation for students intending to pursue a concentration in environmental sciences. The sequence is: • Quarter 1, TESC 120: Evolution, Mendelian genetics, biodiversity and ecology. • Quarter 2, TESC 130: Biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and development. • Quarter 3, TESC 140: Animal and plant structure and function.

This course, TESC 120, introduces the rules of genetic inheritance and the process of evolution by natural selection. In addition it explores the diversity of life and the adaptations that allow organisms to thrive in habitats ranging from mountaintops to the deepest oceans. We will consider how organisms interact with each other and their environment, and how humans impact natural ecosystems.

My goals for this course and the introductory biology series as a whole are: first, to help you develop the ability to think like a scientist; i.e., to develop your observational and critical analysis skills; second, to help you to master the fundamental concepts of biology and learn to synthesize and apply these concepts to a range of problems, and last but not least, to share my excitement with you about the amazing diversity and complexity of life. We will work hard in this class, but we will also have a lot of fun. Through fieldtrips, fascinating labs, and (hopefully) interesting lectures, you’ll be introduced to the complexity of natural ecosystems, witness the glory of native old-growth forests, and learn to buckle down to the challenging but rewarding job of doing real science in the real world.

Biology is a broad and complex field, and it is unrealistic to expect to cover all the important topics in a single survey course or series of courses. Nevertheless, you will need a command of the fundamental principles of biology in order to succeed in your more advanced courses in the sciences.

By the end of this course, I expect you to be able to: 1) Apply the scientific method to answer questions you derive through careful observation of the natural world. 2) Understand the fundamental concepts of evolution, genetics, and ecology, and synthesize and apply these concepts in novel situations. 3) Communicate effectively verbally and in writing, both informally and using standard scientific formats.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Erica T Cline
Date: 09/26/2006