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Should a professor behave this way?
Field Biology Essentials
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For nearly 30 years, I taught a course at Cornell University titled Introductory Field Biology. The course was a lot of work for students and staff, but we had a lot of fun along the way. We experienced 3-hour field trips and a couple of weekend field trips together, so by the end of the term, we knew each other pretty well. The semester always ended with the traditional field bio party. Many of those students became life-long friends.
But field courses like the one I taught at Cornell have become more and more rare at American universities over the past few decades. They are expensive courses to teach, because of the fees for buses, and there are liability issues. Students can fall and break a leg, or have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, or get bitten by a mammal or a snake captured during field exercises. The staff and the students sometimes have to deal with abrasive personalities within the group, and weekend trips require time away from other social and academic obligations. In short, there are real costs to offering such courses. Based on my own observations and comments freely offered by students over the years, it is worth every bit of it.
A Sampling of Field Courses
- Shoals Marine Laboratory
- Organization for Tropical Studies - Home
The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a non-profit consortium; mission is to provide leadership in education, research, and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics.
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