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Featured Course: Fundamental Principles of Biology


Emily Boone, Director of Biological Instruction 
Dr. Jory Brinkerhoff, Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Kristine Grayson, Assistant Professor of Biology

Course Description

Second of two-part series on the fundamental principles of biology. Examines organismal physiology and ecology within the context of biological evolution. Builds upon the competencies and skills learned in BIOL 199 and 200 Serves as preparation for upper level biology courses and beyond. Intended for majors in biology and biochemistry and molecular biology. Three lecture and three laboratory hours per week.

Community-Based Learning Component

The BIOL202 community-based learning (CBL) component is multi-faceted.  During fall 2017—when Kristine Grayson, Emily Boone, and Jory Brinkerhoff were instructing—CBL activities kicked-off with a panel presentation/discussion with Erin Hollaway Palmer, Brian Palmer, and John Shuck of the Friends of East End Cemetery. The purpose was to provide context about the cemetery and to help overcome the “why are we doing this in a bio class?” questions that students sometimes ask. On the Saturday after the discussion, all students from the three BIOL202 sections made their first trip to the cemetery. This was a big clean-up day during which most students were doing the types of volunteer work that often occurs at the cemetery. A smaller group of students was also collecting data using the ARC-GIS app. This data collection was part of the larger project that the East End Cemetery Collaboratory group is working on – the headstone mapping.  Students revisited the cemetery in smaller groups throughout the semester and continued working on clean-up and headstone mapping. A symposium at UR Downtown in the fall and at the Robinson Theatre in the spring was the final component of the CBL experiences.  

Community Partner 

Friends of East End Cemetery 

Class Project

East End Cemetery Digital Map

Relevant Publications & Media 

"East End Cemetery Collaboratory: UR and VCU deepen connections to historic African-American Cemetery," Nov. 29, 2017

Brian Palmer, "For the Forgotten African-American Dead," Jan. 7, 2017, The New York Times