"Evolution for Everyone": A Course that Expands Evolutionary Theory beyond the Biological Sciences

Daniel Tumminelli O'Brien, David Sloan Wilson, Patricia H. Hawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

A firm grasp of evolution is invaluable for understanding our own species in addition to the rest of the biological world; however, not only does much of the American public reject evolution, but many thinkers within the scientific community resist its application to their own disciplines. In an attempt to overcome these challenges through education, the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program at Binghamton University (B.U.) strives to present evolution as a theory relevant to all human-related subjects. Here, we present the cornerstone of this program, "Evolution for Everyone," an introductory-level, general education course with an academically diverse student population. The curriculum delves into Darwin's theory and uses it to illustrate not only classical biology but how the same ideas pertain to the full range of human-related disciplines. This material is framed in terms of scientific inquiry, including direct participation in research. An evaluation of the course has demonstrated that it increases both understanding and acceptance of evolution and its relevance to human-related academic disciplines and everyday life. The EvoS program has received National Science Foundation funding to expand into a nationwide consortium, providing a strong infrastructure for the development of similar courses at other institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalEvolution: Education and Outreach
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 26 2008

Keywords

  • Attitudes toward evolution
  • Culture of evolution
  • Evolution education
  • Interdisciplinary approaches

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