Our teaching program involves instruction at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The undergraduate courses are directed at basic and applied entomology and serve the needs of students in many disciplines. The department does not offer an undergraduate degree but provides service courses, a university core curriculum course, courses for the Agricultural Technology Program, and an undergraduate concentration (i.e. minor). Entomology faculty members also teach courses in biology, forestry, and agricultural life sciences.
The graduate program trains students seeking masters and doctoral degrees. Formal courses are offered in several areas to help students meet the core course requirements for their degrees. Students may also take advantage of experiential learning opportunities or participate in the Molecular Cell Biology Program. In addition, students must satisfy research requirements for the degree and prepare a written thesis or dissertation. A non-thesis masters degree is available for students seeking a terminal degree. Several of our faculty members are involved in an online Master's of Agriculture and Life Sciences distance curriculum.
The goal of our teaching program is to encourage life-long learning and to provide students with a knowledge and understanding of entomology. We recognize the need to help students develop skills for the real world. These skills may involve a number of educational processes and need to include:
- Active learning: Creating an environment where students become actively involved in the learning process and take responsibility for learning. Learning should not stop at the classroom door.
- Critical thinking: Students explore and analyze situations or problems, generate hypotheses, and justify arguments and conclusions.
- Solving problems: Students work through problems and apply information in new ways.
- Working together in groups: Students learn to collaborate and work effectively with others.
We recognize that different students may have different learning styles and that they may benefit from different instructional approaches. Most courses taught in the Entomology Department are lecture-based, but newer computer-based technologies have enhanced teaching in the classroom. A concerted effort has been made in all of our classes to better engage students in the learning process by using the new methods of instructional delivery and by providing opportunities for anytime, anyplace access to educational materials. All entomology courses have a web page with materials such as lecture notes, review materials, and quizzes available for student access. Furthermore, electronic presentations are used in all courses to provide a visual component to help reinforce lecture materials. The department is committed to using these electronic technologies in our teaching program.
The other area of importance to our teaching program is the use of laboratory classes. We believe that laboratories play a critical role in teaching science and provide a hands-on learning experience that cannot be effectively duplicated using other approaches. Laboratory classes provide an interactive learning experience, as well as imparting technical knowledge to the student. Along this same line, the department members believe that undergraduate students should be given the opportunity to participate in research, and faculty members are encouraged to offer independent study courses and involve students in their research programs.
Teaching is stressed as an important component of departmental function and given equal credit to research and extension. Good teaching is expected and faculty members are encouraged to continually improve.