Female Biology (BIOL 330) Course Syllabus

Spring 2014

Lecture: MWF 10:30-11:35 MA226


Professor:    Jennifer Dever, Ph.D.

Office HR352    Hours: Wednesdays 1:30-3:30 or by appointment

Phone: 422-5481

Email: jadever@usfca.edu 


Course Description:

Female Biology is designed specifically for Biology majors to gain insight into the unique biological aspects of the female sex and gender.   We will focus on topics specific to females including the following:  health issues, reproduction, genetics, evolution, sexuality, anatomy, physiology and behavior. This is a service learning course and therefore there is an off-campus service requirement in addition to the lecture portion of the course. 


Prerequisite:  C in Genetics. 


Learning Outcomes:

Outcome 1.  Analyze female anatomy, physiology, behavior and its evolutionary significance.

You will be able to describe how females are genetically, anatomically, physiologically and neurologically distinct from males in comparative vertebrate systems.
You will be able to analyze the differences in behavior and sexuality between males and females and identify the biological importance of these differences.
You will be able to describe the evolutionary significance of sex and of the female role.

Outcome 2.   Investigate the major biomedical issues facing women today and have a better understanding of how women deal with these issues.
You will interpret specific health problems that women encounter and discuss how these problems can be addressed.
You will evaluate how women confront and solve health problems differently from males.
You will be able to discuss specific local and global social justice issues involving aspects of women's health.
You will be able to relate to how biomedical issues facing women directly impact your own lives.

Outcome 3.  Critically appraise the primary research in women's health.
You will investigate the scientific literature on a specific women's health topic and choose an article for class discussion.
You will interpret, analyze and critically evaluate a primary research article.
You will facilitate the learning of others.

Outcome 4.  Apply your knowledge in the setting of women's non-profit organizations and health centers for the betterment of women.
You will acquire an awareness of how women deal with issues in a real-world setting.
You will formulate attitudes and self-concepts related to female issues through engaging in hands-on service learning.
You will reflect and report on your service learning experience, connecting lecture material with your service work.

Course materials:


The Second X: The Biology of Women (2nd Edition) by Belk and Borden; ISBN 0030480442


Our Bodies, Ourselves (2011) by the Boston's Women's Health Collective; ISBN 9781439190661


Additional Readings: assigned papers


Grades:        Grading Scale:  
3 exams (70%)  A- 90-92%,  A 93-96%, A+ 97-100%
Journal Club (10%)* B- 80-82%,    B 83-86%,   B+ 87-89%
Service Learning Project (20%)**  C- 70-72%,  C 73-76%, C+ 77-79%
  D- 60-62%,  D 63-66%, D+ 67-69%
  F     <60%


You are responsible for keeping a running total of your grade points.  If you plan on withdrawing from this course, you must do so prior to the withdraw deadline – after that date, no audits will be approved.


*Journal Club

Working in pairs, you will choose a primary research article on women's health for an assigned topic (highlighted on the schedule) on which you will lead a 30 minute journal club discussion. You will submit the article to me two weeks prior to your club date. The paper will be made available to the rest of the class as soon as it has been accepted by me. Presenters should prepare a structured discussion, engaging the class and leading the club. Your grade will be based on 1) the article you have chosen, 2) how well prepared you are, 3) how well the discussion session went. Journal Club Grading Rubric (how you will be graded). Each group will be given 30 minutes to discuss their paper.

Use the checklists provided on this site for assistance in choosing an article and preparing your discussion: http://www.nuthalapaty.net/kb/ebm/checklist.htm


**Service Learning Projects (click on link for details)

20% of your grade is based on your completion of a service-learning project with a women’s organization in the community.  This service learning project will be a guided endeavor to directly expose you to current health issues that specifically impact women.  You will be participating with organizations that will provide you with hands-on experience as well as allow you to participate actively in aiding women in your community.   During your time at an organization which must be first approved by me, you will be responsible for chronicling your activities and directly relating them to material we are covering in class. For your grade, each student is required to:


1)   complete at least 45 hours worth of service during the semester

2)   keep a daily participant record of your activities and journal of your experience

(At the end of the semester you will turn in a reflection journal.  This personalized document will allow you to dig deeper into your SL experience. Rather than simply chronicling your work with the organization you will discuss your feelings about the experience and the organization.  You should also write about how the experiences related to the female biology class.  Journals may be hand written, provided they are legible.  Although this is due at the end of the semester, you should write on a regular basis –especially immediately after you have left the organization that day.  For tips on journaling your SL experience see http://www.uta.edu/ccsl/for-students/reflection-journals.php)

3)   write a paper on your experience and organization and connect it directly to the course material

4)   participate in the weekly in-class reflection sessions 

 Course Policies:

1.   Attendance: Attendance is mandatory.  Throughout the course, you are expected to attend all class meetings, be prepared, and be on time.  If you are absent, you must provide official documentation (provided by your doctor, etc.) for missing class. Missing more than 2 courses during the semester may result in a reduction of your final grade. 
2.   Exams: Exams must be taken when scheduled.  Excused absences for exams will be granted only for medical reasons, which are documented by a physician.  You must arrange to make up exams within 24 hours of your return to campus.  Make-up tests must be taken within two days of the scheduled exam date or an automatic zero will be recorded for that exam.  You must take every exam. Final exams cannot be taken early. 
3.   Academic Honesty:  From the USF catalog: “The University expects students to be honest in their academic work. Academic dishonesty is viewed as an ethical issue and a violation of the principles of justice and personal responsibility inherent in the University's ideals as expressed in its Statement of Mission and Goals. In particular, students must refrain from plagiarism, cheating and collusion in connection with examinations and must acknowledge fully all sources and all assistance received in work submitted to the faculty for evaluation.” Plagiarism = “the uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else's words or ideas” from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/1/
Plagiarism of papers or cheating on exams, quizzes, or homework will not be tolerated. You may not copy any part of anyone else’s work and pass it in as your own. Any plagiarism or cheating will result in a grade of F for the course, and a report will be submitted to the Dean resulting in a permanent record of the incident in your academic file. If you observe someone else cheating, you also have the responsibility to bring this situation to the instructor’s attention. Please see the Honor Code section of the 2011-2012 USF Catalog.
4.   Drop policy: After the University deadline, the course may be dropped only for serious and compelling reasons. In accord with University policy, I interpret “serious and compelling” to mean “unforeseeable.”  Illness, sudden impoverishment, and similar catastrophes qualify; poor academic performance does not.  An Incomplete (I) is given only when extenuating circumstances prevent you from completing work in the course; earlier exam scores stand unchanged.  Per University policy, an “I” grade remaining incomplete after one year will automatically be changed to “F”.
5.   Students with disabilities:  Please discuss your needs with me during the first week of classes.  Any student who, because of a disabling condition may require special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact the Disability Related Services Dept. at 2613.

**Electronic Devices In Class:  PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES while in class (OR SILENCE THEM). If you need to record the lectures that is permissible provided you discuss this beforehand with the instructor.