Plant Science Bulletin archive
Issue: 1955 v1 No 3 Fall
Question 2. Units of credit given for the term or semester.
Number of institutions - Units of credit
Question 3. On what basis do you section your General Botany students, i.e., alphabetically, pre-testing, A. C. E. ratings, etc.?
Question 4. What has been the approximate percent of freshman General Botany enrollments, in comparison with the school's total freshman enrollment, during the past three years?
Question 5. Is the course considered by the school administration as a general "service course?" Yes--20; no--6; partly--2.
Question 6. Is it primarily a survey type of course; preparatory course, for further study and specialization in botany (or other sciences); teacher-training course?
Question 7. Is the course taught as part of a liberal arts and sciences program, or as part of a technical curriculum?
Question 9. How is the course introduced, i.e., what is taken up at the first or second class meeting?
Question 10. What phase of study is undertaken first? Why? What sequence is followed?
Question 11. Are all aspects of General Botany taught during a single term or semester? If not, how is the material covered?
1 used the entire school year (not being on a term or semester basis).
Question 12. What teaching procedure (s) or method (s) is (are) used; e.g., formal lecture only,
Question 13. Is any one particular teaching method or procedure followed throughout the course? If so, what is it?
Question 14. What are the main objectives of the course, i.e., teaching objectives?
Question 15. What texts and laboratory manuals are being used?
Question 16. What use is made of laboratory or teaching assistants? Do they actually teach the laboratory sessions or merely act as assistants to the teacher? Do the teaching assistants ever deliver formal lectures? Are the assistants used as readers--laboratory exams only, lecture exams, both lecture and laboratory exams?
Question 17. Are laboratory drawings required?
Question 18. Are term papers required?
Question 19. How are examinations given? "Pop" quizzes (i.e., without forewarning), in laboratory and/or lecture; "practicals," midterms; final comprehensives; others.
Question 20. Are grades based on a curve?
Question 21. Is anyone type of objective examination utilized more so than others, i.e., true-false, completion etc.?
Question 22. Are essay type questions ever used in your General Botany courses?
Question 23. What phase (s) of the course is (are) considered to be the most difficult to "get across?" There were a large variety of answers, some stating that they were not aware that any one particular phase was any more difficult than any other; others felt that it varied with the class; and still others felt that it was the fault of the instructor and not the students.
Question 24. What percentage of your freshman General Botany students actually choose to make botany
There were a variety of answers, however, the average was around 1-4 percent.
Question 25. Is work leading to an advanced degree in botany available at your institution? M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
It should be borne in mind that the answers may not necessarily reflect the exact attitudes assumed by all members of the department teaching general botany, but rather only that of the individual completing the questionnaire. However, it is to be assumed that in the greater majority of cases the exact situation is given as it exists at the particular institution.
It does not have to be pointed out that the teaching of botany (or any laboratory science for that matter)
Another factor of importance in the study of college botany (or science) teaching is the development of valid and reliable measuring instruments. These are felt to be essential in the proper evaluation of different methods of teaching, as well as in studies of the curriculum.
It was gratifying to receive a 70 percent return when consideration is given to the short time that was available in preparing and mailing out the letters and questionnaires to 53 colleges and universities of the United States and Canada. It was even further gratifying to receive considerable evidence of interest and requests for the final results obtained.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This brief paper, submitted by two former graduate students who have recently received their Ph.D. degrees from large state universities--not the University of Illinois!--and who wish to remain anonymous, presents a viewpoint which might have a message for some academic administrators.)
The magic phrase of the academic counterpart of the Sorcerer's Apprentice is "We have a position open. . ." Sometimes the fateful phrase is directed generally to all members of a certain academic field; at other times it is directed to a small group of pre-selected potential candidates in this given field. If the position is in the lower academic ranks the results in the latter case are only slightly less astounding than in the former, and thus these postal deluges represent more than an excellent start on the road to philately for some department chairman--they represent literally scores of scientific man-hours spent in getting recommendations, reprints, transcripts, and all the other inanimate yardsticks' of accomplishment together and into the hands of the appropriate person.
All too often the "appropriate person" apparently feels that all of these hours of labor are put in by the eager candidate and that since the candidate "probably has applied everywhere else" his application was only routine and should be acknowledged accordingly, if at all. And this brings us to the title topic.
One of the anomalies of etiquette is that it is quite improper to call a person's breech of the rules of decorum to his attention. Even if this were not so, however, no applicant in his right nind would dare endanger his position by writing anything but the most discreet note asking whether his application had been received and possibly, whether or not it was being considered. True, some administrators promptly acknowledge the receipt of completed application blanks, and also each further addition of letters of reference, reprints etc. to the candidates file. In many cases selection of a candidate cannot and should not be rushed; so a "waiting period" cannot be avoided. However, the proper acknowledgement of receipt of all applications and supporting papers is the least an administrator can do for the people who have submitted applications, whether they were solicited directly or not. In instances where the administrator, not the applicant, writes for the reference, a short acknowledgement is also in order. These communications do not have to be lengthy literary masterpieces, but they should at least express some degree of appreciation, based possibly on the value of the information received, for several hours' assistance.
Several of us have compared our application correspondence over the past few years and find that this "solicit and forget" attitude is not limited by university size or geographic location. North, east, south or west, the story is commonly the same. The date of an applicant's application is February 23--the next communication from the application's solicitor is April 5 and reads in part " . . . your recent letter . . ." The following line of this particular letter gets to the point and says, in effect, that the job has been filled anyhow.
In another instance a letter, asking a pre-selected candidate if he would be interested in applying for a certain position, was answered affirmatively and reprints sent on February 19. No acknowledgement of any kind was ever made! Even in our relatively small sample there was one other such case of complete absence of any acknowledgement whatsoever.
In the field of simple inquiry also the time schedule would often do justice to a sleepy snail. One such simple inquiry about an application was made on November 24. The answer was received (via airmail) the following February 12!
If such treatment is intentional, perhaps as a form of academic natural selection in which only the most stubborn stay in the race, there may be some merit to the procedure. If, on the other hand, this is not the idea behind such treatment we should imagine that botany chairmen the country over are becoming afraid to look a stranger in the eye--it might be that applicant they just never bothered to write. In any event the actions of some administrators on this score certainly cannot be said to be beneficial to our science. Aside from the low salaries, the very least that a prospective colleague should expect from the profession he has chosen is a moderate amount of consideration at a relatively critical point in his career.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This editorial, reprinted from Chemical and Engineering News of August 9, 1954, with permission of Walter J. Murphy, editor of that journal, should be of interest to botanists, and should call for individual and organizational action.)
Our tale today deals with those government chemists and other Ph.D. scientists whose salaries are lower than several other groups of professionally trained men in allied fields but whose work and experience are identical. In some instances the situation is so absurd that a chemist project officer receives less money than professional men working under his supervision.
The story behind this Alice in Wonderland situation has its inception in the period following World War II. At that time (1947) the Armed Services were encountering great difficulty in obtaining and retaining personnel for the Medical Corps and Dental Corps of the Armed Services and the Public Health Service. The reason given was that physicians and dentists felt that they were better off financially in civilian life.
To overcome this problem, the Secretary of Defense requested legislation authorizing additional pay of $100 a month for all medical and dental officers on active duty. A law including this provision was passed in September 1947 and was to be effective for five years. A similar provision was enacted in the Career Compensation Act of 1949.
In the summer of 1953 the Universal Military Training and Service Act was amended (Public Law 84). This amendment not only extended the extra pay provision for physicians and dentists to July 1, 1955, but also blanketed in veterinarians.
There are good arguments, pro and con, with respect to the question of whether preferential treatment should be given to one or more groups of professionally trained people. We do not wish to argue this point. We do feel, however, that our laws should be fair.
In this case we feel that all the arguments advanced to support extra pay for physicians and dentists and, particularly, veterinarians, apply equally well to chemists and other scientists. These include higher costs of education. To obtain a Ph.D. in science takes as long as to attain the education required of physicians, dentists, and veterinarians by the present law. The argument concerning personnel shortages is still acute with respect to scientists. A few months ago, the Secretary of Defense said that there was a surplus of medical personnel in the Armed Services.
Another supporting argument advanced is the contribution to national defense. We feel that scientists contribute as much as those covered by the law.
One reason that veterinarians were included was because of inequalities in pay structure and professional standing. This argument certainly applies to Ph.D. scientists.
The law does not specify that recipients must be doing work in their own field but only that they hold degrees in that field. In government facilities such as the Public Health Service's National Institutes of Health, physicians and dentists are often engaged in research projects exactly the same as those carried out by chemists, biochemists, and other scientists. In some such cases project directors are scientists and some of the subordinates are physicians and dentists. Yet the latter get $1200 a year more than their project supervisors.
It is noted that this bonus pay provision applies only to those men who are on active uniformed duty and not to physicians and dentists who may be employed as civilians.
We believe that in all fairness Congress should give equal treatment to government employees with comparable education, training, and experience. This could be done by extending the provisions of Public Law 84 to cover scientists who hold earned doctor's degrees and who hold active commissions in the Armed Services or the Public Health Service.
Dr. Harvey E. Stork, Chairman of the Department of Botany and Director of the Arboretum, Carleton College, retired from his academic post in June, after having been a faculty member at Carleton since 1926. A graduate of Indiana State Normal School, with his M.A. from Indiana University and his Ph.D. from Cornell, Dr. Stork is widely known as one of the country's most able teachers of botany and has served as president of the National Association of Biology Teachers. In addition to his effective teaching of botany and of biology, Dr. Stork has maintained wide interests in conservation, in wood anatomy, and in the flora of Central America, which he has visited on several occasions.
tive of the Botanical Society at the International Arid Lands Meeting, held at Albuquerque and Socorro, New Mexico. April 26 to May 4.
The International Society for Human and Animal Mycology was founded on July 6, 1954, by scientists of 10 nations meeting at the 8th International Botanical Congress in Paris. Officers of the Society are President- P. Redaelli (Milan); Vice-Presidents--C. W. Emmons (Bethesda, Md., U.S.A.), G. T. Ainsworth (Exeter, England), P. Negroni (Buenos Aires), G. Segretain (Paris); General Secretary--R. Vanbreuseghem (Antwerp). The aims of the new society are: to unify scientists interested in fungi living on human beings and animals, to encourage formation of regional groups of these scientists, to organize meetings of the society at future International Botanical Congresses, and to publish as soon as possible, a bulletin devoted to human and animal mycology. All persons interested in becoming members of the new society are invited to send their requests for membership to the General Secretary, together with statements concerning their qualifications and lists of publications. Annual membership dues are $3.00; international checks or bank drafts should be sent to the General Secretary. Institut de Medicine, 155 Rue Nationale, Antwerp, Belgium.
Dr. A. R. Krukeberg, Dept. of Botany, Univ. of Washington, Seattle 5, wants seeds or living plants of any native perennial species of Silene (Caryophyllaceae), and offers collections of northwestern plants in exchange for these.
A new journal, Virology, is being published by Academic Press Inc., 125 East 23rd St., New York 10, N. Y. Editors are George K. Hirst (Public Health Res. Institute of New York), Lindsay M. Black (Univ. of Illinois), and S. E. Luria (Univ. of Illinois). Subscription price is $9.00 per year. Information concerning policies of the journal may be obtained from the editors.
Hill, Robin and C. P. Whittingham--Photosynthesis. Methuen's Monographs on Biochemical Subjects.
Plant taxonomy has made the New Yorker. Page 24 of the June 4th number of that scientific journal bears an account of an interview with Bassett Maguire (New York Botanical Garden) concerning Dr. Maguire's collecting expeditions into Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil. The article has overtones of plant physiology, ecology, and culinary arts.
The Editor has two requests to make of Society members: 1. That members of Botany Departments which have prepared brochures on careers in our science send him copies for the Bulletin's files, in accordance with the request appended to Dr. Hulbary's paper in the April number of the Bulletin. This published request has brought three such documents to the Editor, who, believing that many more departments have prepared such vocational guides, urges that departments which have not yet done so send copies of their guides to him. Publication of Dr. Hulbary's paper has brought several requests from botanists for more information about vocational opportunities in botany. The Editor would like to publish another paper on this subject, using an assortment of brochures on botanical vocations from a number of Botany Departments as a basis for this second paper. Please! 2. That members of the Society do their bit toward making the Bulletin a successful venture by sending news items, notices of meetings, information about election of members to offices in scientific and scholarly organizations, awards, etc., to the Editor. The Editor also urges that members of the Society submit to him or the Editorial Board manuscripts suitable for lead articles in future numbers of the Bulletin. The Editor (whose chores are fuller than yours) is having a difficult time serving as both Editor and reportorial staff of the Bulletin. Help, please!
A meeting of Midwestern Plant Physiologists was held on June 13-14 at the University of Illinois under joint sponsorship of the Purdue and Illinois Sections of the American Society of Plant Physiologists. General chairmen of the meeting were R. W. Howell, Chairman of the Illinois Section, and G. Gries, Chairman of the Purdue Section. Co-chairmen of the Program Committee were A. C. Leopold and J. F. Nance, of the Committee to Draft Constitution. R. E. Girton and R. H. Hageman. The committee on local arrangements consisted of J. B. Hanson, R. H. Hageman, and J. P. McCollum. The following round-table discussions were held; Photosynthesis and Flowering (N. J. Scully, chairman), Fruit Set (B. E. Struckmeyer, chairman). Respiration (H. Beevers, chairman), Herbicides (F. W. Slife, chairman), Morphogenesis and Cell Wall Physiology (F. L. Crane, chairman), Post-Harvest Physiology (R. V. Lott, chairman), Water Relations (M. B. Russell. chairman), and Physiology of Parasitism (F. G. Smith, chairman). Two symposia were held in addition to the round-table discussions: one on Auxins
and Growth (chairman R. M. Muir; participants: S. A. Gordon. F. G. Teubner, and E. H. Newcomb), the other on Photosynthesis (chairman A. S. Holt; participants: K. A. Clendenning, B. L. Strehler, and S. Aronoff).
Hiden T. Cox, executive director of AIBS, has been appointed chairman of a special committee which will make plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Botanical Society of America in 1956. Among the suggestions under consideration is one to award commemorative medals to outstanding contributors in the several fields of plant science. If you have other suggestions, send them to Dr. Cox, 2000 P Street NW, Washington 6, D. C. or to Harold Bold, Secretary of the Society, Vanderbilt University, Nashville 5, Tenn.
The 1955 meeting of the Society is scheduled for September 5-9 at Michigan State University, East Lansing. Information on room reservations appeared in the April number of AIBS Bulletin. The complete program will be published in the August number of AIBS Bulletin. BE SURE TO BRING YOUR PROGRAM WITH YOU!
The Council of the Society will meet at 2 p.m., Monday, September 5, in East Lansing, in connection with the AIBS meetings.
The Editor apologizes for an error made in his summary of the 1954 Council meetings as a result of some breakdown in the chain of communications. John R. Reeder of Yale, not A. C. Smith, was appointed to represent the Society in working with the Chemical-Biological Coordinations Center on taxonomic coding.
"Botany: the science of vegetables--those that are not good to eat, as well as those that are. It deals largely with their flowers, which are commonly badly designed, inartistic in color, and ill-smelling." From Ambrose Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary."
"The study of Botany seems peculiarly adapted to females; the objects of its investigation are beautiful and delicate; its pursuits, leading to exercise in the open air, are conducive to health and cheerfulness. It is not a sedentary study which can be acquired in the library, but the objects of the science are scattered over the surface of the earth, along the banks of the winding brooks, on the borders of precipices, the sides of mountains, and the depths of the forest . . . . Animals, though affording the most striking marks of designing wisdom, cannot be dissected and examined without painful emotions. But the vegetable world offers a boundless field of inquiry, which may be explored with the most pure and delightful emotions." From Mrs. Almira H. Lincoln's "Familiar Lectures on Botany," 1838. (Ed. note: what is the mutation rate of American females?)
"Botany I rank with the most valuable sciences, whether we consider its subjects as furnishing the principal subsistence of life to man and beast, delicious varieties for our tables, refreshments from our orchards, the adornments of our flower borders, shade and perfume of our groves, materials for our buildings, or medicaments for our bodies." (Ed. note: the Editor will give a good cigar to the first person who. at East Lansing, can identify the source of this quotation.)