Anna K. Monfils

Teaching Statement:

I am privileged to be at a University which values both education and research. Teaching is a fundamental component of my development as a scientist. I have a strong drive to be an effective educator. To that end, I work to remain current in my field of expertise and educated in the techniques of effective University teaching. I take my role as instructor seriously and view it as a chance to inspire students, as well as deepen my own understanding of the material. I have succeeded as an educator if students have gained useful knowledge, can think critically, and understand the importance and relevance of science.

Along with employing new teaching methodology in the classroom, I am excited about the opportunity to mentor and direct the research of both undergraduate and graduate students. I view one-on-one interactions as opportunities to educate students and infect them with enthusiasm for the fields of biology, botany, evolution, and systematics. I enjoy mentoring students and helping them reach their personal career goals and I believe research is an integral part of undergraduate education.

Courses Taught:

BIO 105: Introduction to Quantitative Biology

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the basic theories of biology including the characteristics of life, physiological mechanisms of organisms, patterns of heredity and ecological interactions. The emphasis is on the quantitative aspects of these topics.

Course Objectives:
This course is designed to enhance student's ability to think critically and independently about biology. Students in this course investigate biological problems and critically analyze data. As a result of this work, Students gain skills necessary to interpret data, evaluate research design, and draw appropriate scientific conclusions based on data presented. This course is designed to have students learn about modern science and how that impacts their daily lives.

Course Syllabus

BIO 203: General Botany

Course Description: This is an introductory general plant biology course with a laboratory component. The course broadly covers key topics in plant structure and function, biochemistry, genetics, evolution, diversity and ecology.

Course Objectives: This course is designed to enhance student's ability to describe and evaluate the biological role of plants for the evolution and maintenance of life on earth. Students will learn about the unique role plants play in the carbon cycle, how plants grow and develop, and about the evolution and diversity of land plants. The goal of this class is to have students synthesize ideas and concepts in plant biology, design scientific experiments and draw conclusions from their results, and reframe their knowledge of biology as it relates to plants.

Lecture Syllabus
Lab Syllabus

BIO 522: Techniques in Scanning Electron Microscopy

Course Description: This is a practical course in the operation of the scanning electron microscope. Students learn scope construction and electron optics, electron beam interaction, image interpretation and operation on a scanning electron microscope. Training will be in the specific methodology associated with specimen preparation, image acquisition, and editing and formatting of electron micrographs.

Course Objectives: This course is designed to educate students in the skills required to manage and operate an SEM. This includes developing communication skills (written and oral) for the presentation of scientific microscopic data. Students in this course will learn to interpret and evaluate SEM data and describe protocols and methodologies to the larger scientific community. Communication, understanding and synthesizing of complex electron microscopy concepts is an expectation at the completion of this course.

Course Syllabus

BIO 597D/620D: Plant Systematics and Evolution

Course Description: Plant Systematics is the fusion of two disciplines: plant taxonomy (the naming and classifying of plants) and plant evolution. This is a survey course covering the content and skills applied to the discipline, including plant identification and nomenclature, evolution of plant diversity, and cladistic theory.

Course Objectives: Students taking this course will learn to apply the skills and techniques necessary to identify plants and classify them into genera and families. They will learn critically think about the evolution of land plants and evaluate various plant characteristics including evolution of the seed, flower and pollen. In addition, students enrolled in this class will learn the foundation of cladistic theory and how to generate and analyze molecular and morphological data sets in an attempt to surmise phylogenetic hypotheses of evolution within specific plant groups. As part of this course students will become authorities on a specific plant group and compile relevant identification and evolutionary evidence for the family or genus. The culmination of this course will be a synthesis paper presentation, written report and webpage on a specific plant group.

Course Syllabus

BIO 597A: Great Lakes Wetland Plants

Course Description: This course provides an introduction to the principles and practices associated with wetland plant identification, providing an in-depth study of wetland plant taxonomy in the Great Lakes Region. The focus of this course is on learning plant names, classification, identification and structure of Michigan wetland plants. Students in this course will acquire the knowledge, skills and techniques to identify wetland plants and classify them into species, genera and families. This includes learning to use appropriate terminology in order to identify wetland plants, as well as understanding the investigative procedures used by taxonomists to determine species names and develop classifications.

Course Objectives: Students taking this course will learn vegetative and reproductive features and terminology that are useful in the identification of wetland plants families, genera and species. Over the course of the semester, they will gain the ability to use published taxonomic keys (dichotomous and polyclave), written descriptions, specimen comparisons (herbaria) and image comparison for the identification of wetland plants. In the lecture, lab and field component of the course students will learn to recognize some of the common and unusual families of wetland and aquatic plants in Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Course Syllabus