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I have taught at all levels taught by the department (except Medical School classes). This was in part to fill in where needed and in part to be sure I experienced teaching at all levels in the department in order to be a more effective chair. I have taught graduate level plant biochemistry for many years, first at UW-Madison and recently at MSU. I taught the major’s undergraduate biochemistry course (BMB 461), the non major’s course (BMB 401), the cells and molecules introductory biology (Bio Sci 161), and most recently biology for non-biologists (I think of it as biology for voters, Interdisciplinary Studies in Biology 204). Each level requires specific approaches but all levels of instruction requires respect for the students and working hard to get students to engage with the material. Sean Weise and I taught the ISB 204 course as a series of major themes in biology – Evolution, Sex, Cancer, Disease, Nutrition. Each major topic was covered over three weeks. Students reported a very high level of satisfaction with this approach.

The next adventure in teaching is creation of a new course for plant biology graduate students that will be titled “Molecular Plant Physiology”. I will coordinate this jointly-taught course that will emphasize quantitative literacy in plant physiology, including photosynthesis, central metabolism in plants, and root metabolism. This course will serve students in a planned new graduate program to be called the Molecular Plant Sciences Graduate Program.

Thomas D. Sharkey
University Distinguished Professor
Dept. Biochem. Mol. Biol.
Michigan State University
603 Wilson Rd, 201 Biochemistry Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824-1319 USA
+1 (517) 353-3257