James Krupa, a professor who teaches introductory biology at the University of Kentucky, published an outstanding article in Orion Magazine about using evolution as a cornerstone in his courses. Find it here.
Krupa defends the importance of teaching nonmajors biology courses and argues that evolution should be a thread throughout each course. He writes with sometimes humorous candor about his failures and successes with reaching students who have strong preconceptions about evolution. Along the way, he provides strategies for building relevance for students who resist evolutionary theory.
In my own classes at the University of Oklahoma, I encounter fewer student objections to evolution now than I did when I first started teaching nonmajors biology. I am not sure if that’s because I have become more skilled at teaching the topic, because outside groups haven’t been whipping up the anti-evolution fervor lately, or because the anti-evolution movement is losing steam nationally. I’d be curious to know what other instructors have experienced in recent years. Feel free to leave a comment!