Living Systems: Global Concepts, Local Connections

David Koetje, Professor of Biology, Calvin College; Amy Wilstermann, Associate Professor of Biology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

This course introduces students to a breadth foundational biology concepts ranging from ecosystem dynamics to genomics through a breadth of "complex, capacious, often unsolved problems of civic consequence" (see Table 1). The interdisciplinary nature of these societal challenges as well as the diversity of skills and knowledge that will be required to successfully address these problems is highlighted and students are given tools (an introduction to systems thinking and daily opportunities to work in a collaborative setting) to begin to work toward solutions. Through our involvement with the Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship through Education Network (GLISTEN), students are also given the opportunity to put knowledge into practice during service learning experiences.

- Learn how to maximize one's effectiveness as a learner and take responsibility for doing so.
- Hone creative, critical, practical and computational thinking skills that are essential in biology.
- Learn how to apply biology skills and concepts to help resolve complex, real-world problems.
- Integrate scientific perspectives to inform one's personal worldview.
- Recognize biology as a communal process of analyzing and interpreting the living world; exercise virtues (diligence, honesty, humility, patience, etc.) necessary to sustain communal learning.


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