AIP Course Descriptions

Animal Behavior and Conservation: Carnivores

This course will provide a foundation for understanding issues concerning carnivores. Carnivores have long fascinated humans as a remarkable group and for the clues they can shed on our own behavior and cultures.Brookfield Zoo specialists can provide insight into species in the order Carnivora.

Course Code: BIO 662
Course Credits: 3
Online work and four face-to-face meetings
Summer term

Note: This course meets every other year.

Course themes:

  • Know classification and evolution of carnivores
  • Articulate carnivore conservation
  • Design and methods of behavioral studies
  • Know comparative biology, physiology and behavior of carnivore species
  • Employ inquiry-based learning

 

Climate Change

Participants will study the many causes of climate change and investigate potential actions to address global warming. During the class, participants will discuss how polls affect public opinion, terms associated with global warming, the affects of the greenhouse gases on oceans, weather and climate, ice caps, the “Six Americans” study, deforestation, and potential affects on Illinois. At the end of this course, participants have a solid understanding of current issues surrounding global warming and strategies for taking action on a local level to address global warming.

Course Code: BIO 638
Course Credits: 3
Online work and four face-to-face meetings
Fall term

Note: This course meets every other year.

Course themes:

  • Investigate global warming issues to understand causes and impacts in natural populations; analyze solutions to these issues and the effects in species conservation
  • Strategies for engaging in local conservation action
  • Explore principles of climate change
  • Learn about polls, the “Six Americans” study, and how polls affect public perception
  • Explore potential effects of global warming on the Great Lakes region
Environmental Stewardship In My Community

Participants will investigate conservation opportunities and solutions in their local communities, practice inquiry-based learning, develop a conservation project to be used in their classroom or community, and reflect on their ecological footprint. At the end of this course, participants have a solid understanding of current issues facing local habitats and strategies for empowering their students or community members to generate solutions and take action.

This is a required course in AIP
3 credit hours
Fall 3 day class with web based component

Course Themes:

  • Investigate local conservation issues to understand causes and impacts; analyze solutions to these issues
  • Strategies for engaging students or community members in local conservation action
  • Explore principles of sustainability
  • Community-based conservation
Foundations of Inquiry

The course will provide participants with the tools needed to make science fun, enjoyable learning experience for students while further increasing their competence and confidence in science. The course will include pre-inquiry assessment tools, individual inquiry investigations, interdisciplinary learning and inquiry techniques, and critical thinking skills. Participants will carry out original inquiry investigations.

Required as first course in AIP
3 credit hours
Summer 4-day class with web based component

Course Themes:

  • Conduct a simple inquiry in small groups to review the importance of observation.
  • Assess students before beginning an inquiry as step one in the inquiry cycle.
  • Conduct an inquiry that focuses on critical thinking skills and how a teacher’s language promotes critical thinking.
  • Understand the importance of interdisciplinary teaching and learning in science, math, literacy, and the arts.
  • Facilitate the steps of the inquiry process in their classroom, leading to the final step: forming new questions for investigation.
Graduate Research: Independent Study

This is a pass/fail course. This course provides AIP students with the opportunity to do intensive research on a topic or topics that directly contribute to the student’s Master Plan. Research may take the form of direct observations but must also include an extensive literature review. The final project includes a written research paper and may include other product (short movie, website, multimedia presentation, etc.). This experience is intended to add depth and insight to the student’s master plan and the student is expected to take on significant responsibilities within the chose independent study topic.

Course Code: BIO 677 W
Course Credits: 1 - 2
Online work and individual meetings with the instructor
Any semester after the first year in the program

Course themes:

  • Think critically to research facts and solutions to real world issues
  • Conduct extensive research, synthesize information, and expand on the understanding of the topic
  • Reach novel and sound conclusions and ideas based on research information
  • Master research skills and develop a final synthesis product

 

Graduate Research: Internship

This is a pass/fail course. This course provides AIP students with the opportunity to work one-on-one with Zoo professionals and/or Community leaders on projects that directly contribute to the student’s Master Plan. This experience is intended to be pragmatic, and the student is expected to take on significant responsibilities within the chosen internship.

Course Code:BIO 620
Course Credits: 2-3
Online work and individual meetings with the instructor
Any semester after the first year in the program

Course themes:

  • Think critically to develop solutions to real world issues
  • Network and work collaboratively with professionals in their chosen fields
  • Explore career opportunities and develop a more informed plan for post-graduation success
  • Develop a unique set of skills that will enhance their Master Plan objectives

 

Great Lakes Ecosystem

This course requires local travel and a large amount of walking and step climbing.  Students must be able to meet this participation requirement.

The focus of this laboratory-based course is the study of the Great Lakes watershed area. It combines classroom work with field science inquiry and research. Course methods include investigations, lecture, discussion, individual and group projects, and selected readings.  Students investigate the history, geology, flora, fauna, varied ecosystems, and human influence on the Great Lakes area.

3 credit hours
Summer 4 day class with web based component

Course Themes:

  • become familiar with the positive and negative human influences on the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • have experience in observing, testing and describing current conditions of watershed waterways.
  • have insight into the history and formation of the Great Lakes area.
  • understand the status of local stresses and water quality problems.
  • become familiar with the native plant and animal species.
  • have experience in collecting, observing, and describing species in these local plant and animal communities.
  • understand the status of local stressed and threatened and endangered species.
  • become familiar with the terrain and land formations in the Greater Chicago area.
  • understand how watersheds function.
  • discuss and understand non-point source pollution.
  • understand local sewage treatment and its relationship to the Great Lakes area.
Master Plan In Action

The AIP Master Plan (MP) represents a student’s ideas and areas of interest as those ideas relate to the student’s professional and community goals. By writing a Master Plan, students are able to focus their AIP journey and visualize the actions and steps that they might take toward completing their master’s degree during the 2.5- to 5-year timeframe. During this course with guidance and input from peers and the AIP Cohort advisor, students work on completing their Master Plans. This method ensures that students have a workable plan that helps them anticipate ways to incorporate the projects they create as part of their AIP experiences into their professional and life goals. Students will also think about the common threads and program tenets among the projects in this cohesive body of work, which ultimately becomes their final master’s portfolio due as the culminating experience at the end of their degree.

Through readings, discussions, and peer review, students will answer the following questions:

  • What do you want to accomplish by the end of your AIP degree program?
  • What is the focus of your Master Plan (inquiry- driven interpretation, public engagement, schoolyard ecology, community-based learning, land use, animal behavior and conservation, etc.)?
  • Does your AIP focus include a specific setting (school, informal setting, state government, urban ecosystems, etc.)? A specific community (local businesses, at-risk youth, etc.)?
  • How do you plan to build on your zoo experiences, inquiry skills, community skills, and content knowledge to make changes in local and global contexts?

Course Code: BIO 655
Course Credits: 2
Online work and four face-to-face meetings
Summer term

Note: This is a required course.

Course Themes and Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):
Students in this course will:

  • Develop, expand and revise a focused research plan or social action strategy that includes a timeline for conducting anticipated projects
  • Design a Master Plan to ensure community engagement is well represented in a student’s selected projects; projects use established methodologies including participatory action research (PAR), inquiry, and participatory education (PE)
  • Examine, critique, and apply research methodologies, including investigating experimental design and data analysis, from published studies
  • If not already accomplished, prepare and submit a research proposal to Miami University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or the institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC); research will occur in the semester(s) following approval
  • Evaluate colleague’s Master Plans and project work, including conducting critical peer review, and respond to individual and peer discussion about their own Master Plan
  • Employ community resources, including the AIP Master Institution environment, and outreach to create connections, build community partnerships, and use the network as a learning resource to increase the effectiveness of the Master Plan
  • Engage in reflective and evaluative peer review in face-to-face environments and on the web to provide colleagues with personal insight, new perspectives or analyses, ideas for useful application, and connections to other research and projects.
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Graduate Research: Book Discussion

This pass/fail seminar centers on the books, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, by Daniel Quinn (1992) and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond (2005/2011). These unique books focus on the tension between humankind and the Earth. While Quinn divides humankind into two simple groups, Takers and Leavers, Diamond holds a complex theory about causes of the success or failure of societies. Online discussion and on-site meetings allow the student to investigate their own beliefs about conservation theories, investigate local conservation examples, and examine their personal role (and barriers) in caring for the Earth.

Course Code: BIO 620
Course Credits: 1
Online work and two face-to-face meetings
Spring term

Course themes:

  • Increasing awareness of contemporary conservation issues
  • Developing an awareness of modern humankind’s effect on the Earth
  • Thinking critically and scientifically about environmental issues
  • Developing critical review skills when reading literature
Plants and People

As is evidenced by the schoolyard ecology movement, the popularity of Richard Louv's recent book Last Child In the Woods, and the large number of people enjoying outside activities, everyone is increasingly realizing the power of local environments to engage in powerful learning experiences. Join Brookfield Zoo in exploring the power of inquiry to generate knowledge and illuminate the relationships between plants and people. Interact with ecologists, botanists, and classmates, while developing great ideas for using natural and cultivated plant communities.

Course Code: BIO 695
Course Credits: 3
Online work and four face-to-face meetings
Fall term

Note: This course is offered every other year.

Course themes:

  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Relationships between plants and people
  • The use of wild and cultivated spaces in education
  • Methods of botanical investigations
  • Curricular development and educational leadership
Animal Behavior and Conservation: Primates

Graduate students in this course investigate primate conservation and behavior through direct observation. Primates have long fascinated us as a remarkable group in their own right, and for the clues they can shed on our own behavior and cultures. Callimicos, Spider Monkeys, Brown Capuchins, White Cheeked Gibbons, Orangutans, Mandrills, Mangabeys, Lowland Gorillas and other primates are ideal for comparative studies on topics ranging from social structure to communication. This course will provide a foundation for understanding research methods and conservation issues.

Course Code: BIO 696
Course Credits: 3
Online work and four face-to-face meetings
Summer term

Note: This course is offered every other year.

Course themes:

  • Classification and evolution of primates
  • Primate conservation
  • Design and methods of behavioral studies
  • Curricular development and educational leadership
  • Current technology used in primate care and conservation