ALS 398H is a seminar/discussion-based honors course that utilizes the team concept to introduce students to methods of scientific inquiry and communication. Within small groups, students research topics of current interest in science and public policy. Each student selects one of eight - ten topics and works individually and in a small group with a faculty member to define the scope of the issue, research the topic, and develop a presentation for informing other students in the course about the topic. During the semester, invited speakers or field/lab trips may be scheduled by the small groups to gain first-hand knowledge of the topic. In addition, students will discuss research ethics and scientific writing in the agricultural and life sciences through several large group sessions. A poster presentation by each of the small groups at the NCSU Undergraduate Research and Teaching Symposia at the Talley Student Center is also required.
The primary objective is to provide students with an opportunity to develop critical abilities in the analysis of complex issues and skills in communicating the conclusions based on evidence obtained from scientific analysis of data. Through this process, students learn how to use library and other resources more effectively and develop working relationships with other CALS Honors students, CALS faculty and administrators, and other scientists. Learning techniques to work cooperatively in teams also is a high priority. This is a “gateway” course to honors research or teaching and other internal and external campus opportunities for professional and academic development for undergraduates.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be better able to
- analyze complex issues in science, especially those issues that have an impact on society
- communicate conclusions based on evidence obtained from scientific analysis of data
- use the library and other resources effectively
- work cooperatively and effectively with other students, faculty and administrators