FALL 2014

Instructor:  Jennifer Dever
Contact Info:
email: jadever@usfca.edu
phone: 415-422-5481
office: HR 352; office hours: tbd

course website: http://usf.usfca.edu/fac-staff/dever/evolution.html

Lecture Time & Location: Lecture days/times: MWF 10:30-11:35 (section 02) - MA 126

Course Description
This course will be an in-depth examination of the unifying principles of evolutionary biology. We will look at the nature of science, Pre-Darwin ideas about evolution, Darwinian evolution, the Modern Synthesis and contemporary evolutionary biology.  Concepts including microevolutionary forces, macroevolution, phylogenetics, origin of life and human evolution will be covered.  Students will be required to read, participate in class discussions, and be able to think critically about these concepts – as this topic demands careful contemplation for appreciation.  This course is designed as a “cap-stone” course for the Biology major, which is a catchall phrase that means I will be assessing everything you have learned in the major in the context of evolution plus evaluating how well you are able to synthesize and communicate this information.  I will be utilizing a variety of evaluative styles (discussions, exams, oral presentations, and a paper) to determine your final grade.  

Prerequisite:  Genetics pre-requisite (completion with minimum grade C).

Course Materials

Required Text:

Evolutionary Analysis by Freeman & Herron, (2007) 4th edition.  ISBN 0-13-227584-8

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins (1996). ISBN 978-0393315707

Suggested Text:

The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin.

Learning Outcomes:


Final grades are determined from the following:


Grading Scale:  

Midterm (25%), Final (30%)     

A- 90-93%, A 94-97%, A+ 98-100%

Presentation (20%), Presentation Paper (5%)

B- 80-83%,   B 84-86%,   B+ 87-89%

Blind Watchmaker Paper (15%)

C- 70-73%,  C 74-76%, C+ 77-79%

Participation and homework (5%)  

D- 60-63%,  D 64-66%, D+ 67-69%


F   <60%

Class Participation: Attendance is mandatory. Lecture often includes material not found in the textbook. In-class discussions are key to processing and synthesizing the material and cannot be “made-up”.  Missing more than 3 classes throughout the semester will result in a reduction in your final grade. Do not miss class, if you do-please let me know why so that I may assist if there is some problem.

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. Improper citation of material will result in a minimum of a full grade deduction. 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.

Electronic Devices In Class:  PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES while in class. If you need to record the lectures, that is permissible provided you discuss this beforehand with the instructor. Laptops and iPads may be used in class as long as you are only using them to take notes - refrain from texting, playing games, checking your email or surfing the web.

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.

Lecture Schedule

Return to Dr. Dever's Home Page