Biology 466
Spring 2008
T 8-11 AM Science 220
Hotlines: 465-4444 or 800-578-1449
Senior Seminar
Tentative Schedule
Ross Koning
Science 356 MWF 9-10, R 12:30-1:45


This course is the senior capstone experience in the biology major. Adequate performance in writing assignments in this course satisfies the advanced writing requirement at ECSU. The course provides experiences in abstracting, writing, editing, revising, and critique. It also provides experience in preparing grant proposals, resumes, posters, and oral presentations. The resulting skills polish your career at Eastern and prepare you for some of the most important activities in the work of practicing scientists.


We will begin our seminar projects by learning how to write a personal resume to help land a biology job or achieve graduate school admission to biology graduate schools. Then you use our library electronic databases to begin a search of secondary literature on the topic of your personal choice. You will learn how to use those articles along with other databases and interlibrary loan to obtain primary literature for asssembling a body of completed research on your topic of interest. You will then use that primary literature write abstracts and op-ed pieces, and to make poster and oral presentations. You will write a grant proposal to fund a planned research project to extend this line of research. Along the way we will discuss research and gain experience communicating with other scientists. Editing, revising, and critique will become essential and well-used skills by the end of the semester. Participation in all aspects of this course will be essential to your evaluation and final grade.


There is no textbook that can adequately provide experience along all these lines. We shall use a range of handouts available on-line from links in our on-line syllabus. To assist your writing projects, you will find good assistance in our departmental style-manual: J. A. Pechenik. 2004. A short guide to writing about biology. 5th ed. Longman/Pearson Education, Inc. New York. (Earlier or later editions are OK!) This book, in its latest edition, is available in the bookstore or at, etc. I recommend that you purchase a large three-ring binder for your notes and handouts.


Your course grade will be based on written assignments, the oral presentation, the poster, and participation in the complete range of other activities. Some of the writing will be done in-class, but most will be accomplished out-of-class.

Each writing assignment will be followed in time from the date the first draft is submitted until the assignment has been successfully completed. The results of editing/revision cycles will be noted. Participation of student editors/reviewers will be noted and credited as in-class writing assignments. Writing assignments will not be successfully completed until they meet full competence criteria. Completed assignments will be clearly marked as successfully completed by the instructor. Failure to complete any assignment in this course prior to the last day of classes will result in a very severe penalty in your course grade. Some assignments necessarily have EARLIER deadlines, so be alert and attentive to other deadlines!

If you are not ready to make a poster or oral presentation on the date your presentation is scheduled, you will receive a severe penalty in your course grade.

As there is no replacement or make-up for missed seminar classes, missed classes will result severe penalties in your course grade. Being tardy for any class results in a severe penalty in your course grade. A certain level of professional behavior is expected of seniors in biology at ECSU.

If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of AccessAbility Services at (860) 465-5573. To avoid any delay in the receipt of accommodations, you should contact the Office of AccessAbility Services as soon as possible. Please understand that I cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until I have received an accommodation letter from the Office of AccessAbility Services. Your cooperation is appreciated.


Date: Classtime Projects: Bring to class this day:
Jan 27 Introduction.
Resume Assignment.
Grad School Applications.
Secondary Sources Science 3**.
Term Topic Proposal.
Feb 3 Peer edit of Resume.
Bibliography Assignment.
Paper Chase at ECSU Smith Library.
Abstract Assignment.
Resume first draft
Feb 10 Peer edit of 2nd Draft Resume and Abstract First Draft.]
Writing for Audience: Letter vis a vis Flyer.
Writing an Op-Ed article from a primary source.
Bibliography first draft
Resume redraft
Abstract first draft and Article copy
Feb 17 Peer edit of Resume Re-draft.
Peer edit of Abstract First Draft.
Peer edit of OpEd Article.
Assignments to be completed for next week.
Resume redraft
Bibliography redraft
Abstract first draft and Article copy
OpEd first draft and Article copy
Feb 24 Peer Edit of OpEd Article-Second Draft.
Example Presentation.
Power Point Presentation Workshop in G114.
Bibliography/Resume redraft
Abstract redraft
OpEd Article redraft
Article copy for Presentation
Mar 3 Power Point Work Session in Goddard 114
Next Draft of: Resume, Bibliography, Abstract, OpEd as needed
Primary source article for presentation to photocopy
Whatever you need for working on your presentation
Mar 10 Power Point Quiz
15-minute presentations and critiques in order:
You must have read the ABSTRACTS of the first 7 papers. If you did not get your copy in class last week, it is on the door to Science 356. Prepare a question from the reading or the presentation in class to ask each pressenter. If you failed to turn in your abstract for presentation last week, then you MUST do so on this day!
Mar 17 Power Point Quiz
15-minute presentations and critiques in order:
Distribution of two-position papers for debate
You must have read the ABSTRACTS of the final 6 papers. If you did not get your copy in class last week, it is on the door to Science 356. Prepare a question from the reading or the presentation in class to ask each pressenter.
Mar 24 Spring Break--NO CLASS
Mar 31 Debate quiz, Debates of two-position papers, Debate Critiques, Be "ready to rumble" on your debate team!
DEAD-line for final draft of Op-Ed piece is FRIDAY!
Apr 3 Friday 2-5 PM Comprehensive Exam - Bring Pencil and Eraser - Goddard 100
Apr 7 Example Poster Designs, Poster Criteria, Points of Agreement: Senate Committee/Hospital Board Policy Decisions Role Plays Bring clean-copy of final draft of Op Ed piece
Bring your article hard-copy for poster preparation
Apr 14 Writing a Grant Proposal,
Op Ed Press Release, Op Ed critique
Drafts of posters to inquire about!
Apr 21 Poster Session: Discussions and Questions Your poster, mounted, and ready to present!
May 5 Course Evaluations (x3)
Grant Proposal First Draft Peer Edit
Discussion: The Scientific Endeavor
Your Grant Proposal Rough Draft
Thorough reading of Chapters 4-6
May 12 Grant Proposal Panel Meeting: Proposal Review, Panel Consensus Decisions
Personal Goals Statement
Budget Allocations
Op Ed Thank You Notes
Your completed Grant Proposal
Absolute Deadline for all materials for this course!

Foundation Report


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