Biology 8700, Spring '17


Location: Room 200 Langdale Hall
Intro Lecture: January 13th
Time: Friday 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
Credit Hours: 2 hr


Lecturer: Dr. John Houghton Dr. Phang C. Tai Hardeep Singh
Office: 520 Petit Science Center 592 Petit Science Center 501 Petit Science Center
Laboratory: 657 Petit Science Center 542 Petit Science Center 657 Petit Science Center
Office Phone: (404) 413-5390 (404) 413-5303  



Course Information: This Spring seminar series has been allocated a continuous 2 hour session, which will encompass two different 1 credit hr. course listings, each having its own #CRN’s All students are required to register for BOTH courses (Permission is needed to deviate; minimally ALL must register for the 10:00 am session CRN# 12010 (mandatory), and must attend both sessions). Please check your course registration. The seminar series in this semester will feature some members of our own Biology Research Faculty. This will offer an opportunity for students to hear about the current research endeavors of our own research faculty in the Biology department. The format will also allow them a chance to talk informally with each presenting speaker on any subject in the first 25 minutes (10:00 - 10:30 am) before the formal seminar begins at 10:30 am. Students will also have time at the end of each formal talk (~11:20 am) to ask more questions of the speaker. It is also expected that other faculty will also attend the seminars, which will generate lively discussion in a brainstorming session at the end of each of the formal seminars

The Biology Graduate Seminar is designed to provide students first-hand knowledge of recent, state-of-the-art advances in (or related to) the Biological Science. Students are expected to read selected journal articles of the speakers ahead of time, and will then have the opportunity to hear those same scientists discuss progress in their research. In addition, all graduate students attendees will be able to take advantage of an excellent opportunity to formally (and informally) interact with research scientists and gain direct experience of their respective research journeys! Overall, the aims of this course are to enhance the critical thinking of attending students, expand their research/presentation skills, and gain a better understanding of the research literature. The course is also designed to hone each student’s skill in being able to pose interesting, thought provoking questions, which are essential to nurture an inquisitive mind! As faculty mentors, we will try to ensure that our graduate students are provided with an outstanding research experience and acquire the skills needed to become successful professionals in your respective fields of interest

Course Website: While there is an icollege account associated with this course (Students must use their campus ID and password to log on to the account), there is also a more direct link to all the available information about the course, here (

Course Layout and Assignments:

1. Attendance is mandatory to receive course credit. To receive credit for attendance students must arrive on-time (10:00 am sharp), remain for the entire duration of the seminar (including questions) and be courteous and attentive throughout the seminar. See below for attendance and tardiness policies. Be sure to sign the attendance sheet at the beginning of class. Note: Signing in for someone else would be considered a violation of the Student Honor code, and grounds for receiving a grade ‘U’ -subject to further disciplinary action.

2. Reading Assignment. A link to the Research page of the invited seminar speaker will be made available to each student, along with the online posting of the Speaker’s details and his/her talk title. Students are required to visit the pertinent Research page prior to the seminar and read about the Speaker’s area of focus and his/her recent publications posted on their research page.

On the day of the seminar, each student should bring with them three typewritten questions that they have derived from reading a publication related to their title of presentation.

3. Seminar Assignment. During the seminar, each student will be required to take notes which will be written on the same sheet of paper as the questions prepared from the reading assignment.

Included in your notes should be: (a) a restatement of the general question being addressed, (b) the hypothesis or objective of the research being presented and (c) a listing of the major results from the study. This assignment must be hand-written and turned in to the Teaching Assistant at the end of each seminar.

Note: Turning in another student’s assignment will be considered a violation of the Honor code, and grounds for the offending student to receive a grade ‘U’ and be subject to further disciplinary action


Attendance, Tardiness, Etiquette and Grading:

• Attendance: Students are allowed NO unexcused absence. In the event of such absence, they will be required to submit a 3-page report on the Summary of the research findings presented by the Speaker on the day they failed to attend. For the second absence, a 10-page report will be required. The student will need to drop the class if he/she has THREE absences or receives a grade ‘U'.

• Students must sign the attendance sheet AND submit the seminar assignment to be considered as having being present for that particular seminar.

• Tardiness: To be respectful of the Seminar Speaker and those in attendance, students are expected to arrive on time. Even so, any student arrives AFTER the Speaker has been introduced should arrive QUIETLY, ensuring that the entrance doors do not slam shut behind them. The attendance sheet will be availablefor students to sign from 10:00 until 10:10 am. Students who arrive after 10:10 am will be considered absent from that particular class/seminar.

• Grading: The course will be graded on an Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) scale. The grade will be based on attendance, reading and seminar assignments, as well as participation and attentiveness during seminars. Students missing more than 3 seminars will receive an automatic “U” for the course.

Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.   Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students beforehand and may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed, “Accommodation Plan”. The student is responsible for providing a copy of that plan to one of the instructors of all seminars for which accommodation(s) is sought.  

This syllabus provides a plan for the course, deviations may be necessary.


• Classroom Etiquette -Do’s and Dont’s 

• Do turn Cell phones off before the seminar begins; Don’t bring iPod or text in class.

• Do show respect to others. Lots of commotion can be more distracting than lots of noise.

• Don't arrive late OR leave early — either will be counted as an absence.

• Do pay attention. This may seem obvious, but it’s important. If your mind is elsewhere you won’t understand a thing.

• Don’t fall asleep –it will be counted as an absence.

• Do be respectful to others. It is not only common courtesy, but whispering or talking can distract, and be construed as disrespectful behavior.


Ethical considerations: Unless otherwise stated, all written documents that are submitted for evaluation are considered to be the sole property and idea(s) of the individual student that is submiting them. Any student(s) caught copying or cheating will automatically receive zero credit for that particular submission, and possibly be subject to further disciplinary action. All students should be aware of the academic honesty policy ( ).



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