Focus of PhD
Teaching Evolution as an Interdisciplinary Science
A Design-Based Research Model for Evolution, Behavior, and Sustainability Science Education
Advancing evolutionary theory in the 21st century is a robustly interdisciplinary, if not transdisciplinary scientific endeavor. From biology and anthropology, to medicine, psychology, economics, sustainability science, computer science, and many more, the core concepts of heritable variation and selection have been utilized by scientists across academia to understand the natural and social world. Evolution education, however, remains largely a disciplinary endeavor of biology education, and educators are left with little guidance on interpreting the broader interdisciplinary applications of modern evolution science discourse. In fact, current representations of evolutionary concepts in evolution education may prove challenging for the integration of newer and interdisciplinary perspectives on evolution. This thesis engages a multilevel design-based research perspective on the systems, practices, and resources that could support or hinder the emergence of teaching evolution as the interdisciplinary science that it is.
Long-term research context
Networked Improvement Communities for Understanding the Human Condition
Schools around the world almost universally seek to cultivate in students an understanding of the human condition that is both practically realistic for the world they are to enter, and factually realistic in accordance with modern disciplinary perspectives. Teaching the science of evolutionary anthropology offers significant learning opportunities in this regard, yet the interdisciplinary nature of the field, combined with a complex conceptual landscape across the human sciences conspire to create unique challenges in advancing educator competence and communities of practice in this space. This is a knowledge synthesis and research infrastructure project, working within the model of Networked Improvement Communities to advance a flexible framework for international collaboration on the design and implementation of teaching materials and strategies for engaging students in reflecting on the everyday experience of human behavior in the light of evolution and sustainability sciences.