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[Plant-education] Plants and People courses

Scott Shumway via plant-ed%40net.bio.net (by sshumway from wheatonma.edu)
Sun Dec 27 12:37:01 EST 2009

Back in September I asked for information to be used for developing a 
“Plants and People” course for majors and non-majors. As promised, I 
have summarized the responses. I regret to report that my department was 
not very enthusiastic about my proposal to teach this course, given the 
need to meet demands for intro bio, first year seminar, and senior 
seminar. Perhaps I’ll get to teach it as a first-year seminar.

Beverly Brown (bbrown6 from naz.edu) shared a syllabus for her course “Plants 
and People”. The syllabus states “We will be exploring connections 
between plants and people throughout the semester. Some of the questions 
we’ll be exploring include: Why are plants important to people? What 
makes a healthy plant? How can plants help solve crimes? What does it 
mean if a plant product is labeled organic? How important are plant 
sales to the global economy? How have plants affected the history of the 
world? How do the arts use plants?” The textbook is Capon, B. Botany for 
Gardeners, Timber Press, Inc.; February 2005 ISBN-13: 978-0881926552.

Catharina Coenen (ccoenen from allegheny.edu) also shared a syllabus and 
wrote “I am fond of the textbook "Plants and Society" by Levetine and 
MacMahon. I used it in a non-majors science course that I taught as a 
Junior Seminar in Women's Studies (unconventional, I know, but I've 
attached the syllabus anyhow), and the students in that class quite 
liked the book.”

Monique Reed (Texas A&M University): We have just such a course. We use 
the Connor and Ogorzaly--still in print and very good. You can see our 
syllabus here, with links to the lab activities. Over the years, we have 
also done a perfume/spice/dye lab and a weeds/invasive species lab. My 
favorite activity is the apple tasting we do when the new crop arrives 
in the fall.

John Choinski: Economic Botany and Economic Botany Laboratory 
(http://faculty.uca.edu/johnc/eb3390.htm) lab link on EB web page. It is 
a majors course (freshman biology as a prereq), but I've often thought 
it would also serve as a general education elective. We still use 
Simpson's book, as it is the most comprehensive despite needing an 
update. If you have any questions, let me know. Incidentally, the lab is 
still a work in progress, but it tries to introduce students to some 
basic botany, and always includes an applied component (i.e., 
paper-making, cloth dying, beer-making, etc.)

Laura Spence Kelleher (L.Kelleher from Elsevier.com): I saw your requests for 
syllabi to develop new courses. As an Acquisitions Editor, I find this 
free online tool incredibly helpful in locating syllabi based on keyword 
searches Hopefully it will help you too!

Steven Karafit (Karafit from hendrix.edu) shared syllabi for “Plants and 
People” a laboratory course designed for non-science majors to serve as 
an introduction
to the basic principles of biology with a primary focus on the flowering 
plants and the relationships of plants and humans.”
Levetin, E, K. McMahon, 2008. Introductory Plants and Society, 5th 
edition. McGraw Hill
Levetin, E, K. McMahon, R. Reinsvold, 2002. Laboratory Manual for 
Applied Botany. McGraw Hill
Pollan, M., 2001. The Botany of Desire. A plant’s eye view of the world.

Donna Ford-Werntz (dford2 from wvu.edu) wrote: As of last fall, I was still 
able to get/use Simpson & Orgalzaly (also my preferred book). The course 
I teach from it is "Plants and Human Health," encompassing all 
non-animal agriculture (plant food/beverage) and poison/drug/medicinal 
plants. The class utilizes all of the text except a few chapters, such 
as algae, timber, fibers and dyes.

Scott Shumway
Professor of Biology
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
sshumway from wheatonma.edu

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