The College of Arts and Sciences

Indiana University, Bloomington

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Dean

Whitney M. Schlegel, Director

Many of the major problems facing humanity today, from environmental degradation and global change to AIDS, cancer, and the costs of health care, involve both a biological component and a social component. Scientific approaches to such problems are essential, but they must be broadly scientific, integrating what we know of the biological component with an understanding of the social, cultural, and ethical settings in which these problems exist. The Human Biology Program within the College of Arts and Sciences on the Bloomington Campus of Indiana University is a proposed integrative learning experience engaging students in a deep understanding of cultural diversity and the international context of complex scientific issues.

Human Biology Major

In response to the increasing social and ethical complexity of current scientific problems and the strong support of life science research in the state of Indiana, an interdisciplinary core of faculty at Indiana University Bloomington constructed the Human Biology Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts Degrees. The development process of the student competencies, classroom pedagogies, and core curriculum involved campus-wide conversations, and intensive program development by Faculty Fellows during Summer Institutes. Ongoing reflection, assessment, and sharing about faculty instruction and student learning inform the progress of the program.

This Human Biology curriculum is uniquely designed around a core sequence of four interdisciplinary three-credit courses, occurring from the freshman through senior years, each paired with a one-credit seminar course. Students also complete foundational disciplinary courses (12 cr. BA, 18 cr. BS) as well as a selection of courses from one of four areas of concentration (12 cr. BA, 27 cr. BS). Currently, the four Areas of Concentration are: Human Health and Disease; Human Reproduction and Sexuality; Human Environment and Ecology; Human Origins and Survival.

Emphasizing key pedagogies of case study analysis, team-based learning, and original research, the Human Biology Program purposefully and developmentally enhances students' frameworks for incorporating facts and concepts, but also fosters life-long learning competencies in rigorous and intensive scientific inquiry, interdisciplinary thinking, critical analysis, interpersonal communication, and self-reflection. Human Biology students are guided through increasingly advanced levels of critical thinking throughout the program to develop the ways of knowing needed to: i) explore complex scientific problems, ii) integrate their scientific knowledge with societal concerns, iii) provide and advocate for ethical and multi-dimensional solutions, and iv) address complex problems they will face in the future in the life science industry or in continued graduate or professional studies. Students may pursue careers in medicine, other health professions, public policy, law, journalism, research, or teaching.

Core Curriculum of the Human Biology Major
Core Curriculum of the Human Biology Major

Area Certificate in Human Biology

The Area Certificate in Human Biology is an interdisciplinary certificate program within the College of Arts and Sciences that is partnered with the Indiana University School of Medicine. The Area Certificate in Human Biology is a 28-29 credit hour program that provides an integrated educational opportunity not available through individual departments on the Bloomington campus. The objectives of the Area Certificate in Human Biology are: i) to provide a broad and rigorous introduction to the biological sciences, ii) to relate these sciences to the ethical problems raised by the relationships of human beings to one another and to their environment, and iii) to provide students with the opportunity to draw connections within their academic learning to their lives outside of academia.

The Certificate will also provide an opportunity for each student to develop a reflective electronic portfolio (e-portfolio). A reflective e-portfolio is a creative method for students to showcase their academic growth, illustrate unique personal and extracurricular activities and to make meaningful connections between these experiences. In the Certificate's capstone course (BIOL L-390), students will use the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning's KEEP Toolkit to document their academic coursework and extra-curricular activities, examine and reflect on the knowledge they have gained, relate their work to their future studies or careers, and present their work electronically to specified audiences.

Many students who are seeking admission into Allied Health and other professional degree programs graduate from Indiana University with a General Studies Degree. The Area Certificate in Human Biology offers an opportunity for students to distinguish themselves from others seeking similar employment and academic admission. Student electronic portfolios constructed using the KEEP Toolkit will allow Indiana University students to present themselves in unique, informative, and exciting ways to potential employers, graduate and professional degree programs, and communities of learning within the Human Biology Program and university.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for the Human Biology Program

The Human Biology Program at Indiana University Bloomington applies the principles of the scholarship of teaching and learning throughout our program.

Faculty, students, and program facilitators document, assess, and share their progress toward the program's goals of developing students who can understand the historical and cultural complexity of the life sciences and who can advocate for well-reasoned and supported solutions to intricate scientific problems.

Our work in the Human Biology Program is made public through:

  • Archiving the work of faculty, students, and program administrators in the Carnegie Foundation's KEEP Toolkit
  • Campus presentations
  • National and international conference posters and presentations

  • This electronic portfolio was created using the KML Snapshot Tool™, a part of the KEEP Toolkit™,
    developed at the Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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