For the last several months, Biology Professor Danial Janzen has lived in Costa Rica, studying first-hand the ecological problems presented by the destruction of rain forests. When he returns to campus in the fall, he'll bring this experience to the classroom in a new course in the Biology Department called Contemporary Humans and the Environment. The class will cover the biological, sociological and economical problems that humans are having with the environment and will discuss various options for dealing with the problems. Janzen has spent nine months abroad during each of the last six years studying global environmental problems in exotic places like rain forests. "I study management of tropical bio-diversity for fun and profit," he said. "I investigate large tropical ecosystems and figure out ways that humans can make use of them without destroying them." Janzen said that although the course will meet the biology major requirement, he would recommend it to all undergraduates. "The course is designed to be understood by undergraduates from different areas, including science and liberal arts," Janzen said. "It is fair to say that the course is a variety of economics, sociology and biology, and it can be applied to the things that today's undergraduate will be concerned about." Janzen plans to address each major problem humans are having with the environment on a global level. He said he will spend two or three lectures on each problem. "The examples will probably be taught from slides from projects I have worked on and been a part of," Janzen said. Janzen also said the topics for the course will change every year to meet current events. According to Biology Department Assistant Chairperson Bonnie Barnett, the course will probably meet the living world distribution requirement for college students, but the requirements committee is still in the process of approving the course. In the past, the Biology Department has not offered many courses for non-majors, but Biology 140 is for any student interested in the environment. "We don't have a whole lot of courses for non-majors," Barnett said. "Courses like this are something new." University students concerned about environmental problems are also enthusiastic about the new course.Comments powered by Disqus
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