This is the first time I’ve taught science to non-science majors. There aren’t really any liberal arts colleges in Australia, so it was very new to me, and I have to say so far one of the most challenging things I’ve done. I am definitely out of my comfort zone.
With that said, I have been delighted by the engaged, interested and talented students in my class (not that I should be surprised, I’ve never seen a more driven group of 18-21 year olds that at Rhodes College). Not just saying nice things about my place of employment, I kid you not, they are above and beyond the level of commitment I ever put into my undergraduate studies (read: I was kind of lazy).
Anyway, one of the introductory assignments I gave them (my class is Infectious Disease and the Impact of Human Evolution) was to write a monologue about themselves, but I gave them a name of a bacterial pathogen that they had to pretend to be. I haven’t graded the all yet (oh grading, my nemesis), but already I am smiling because they actually enjoyed and learnt something from this.
As an extra credit option, they were able to use any kind of creative outlet they so desired to illustrate their bacterium. I have gotten some cute drawings, an amazing poem that I am just wowed by, and a plush Escherichia coli complete with flagella, that is on my office desk. I hope to show you more work through out the coming semesters, as I think integrating art and science is a nice way to involve everyone, even non biology majors.