Andy Jones’ Teaching


IMG_1280 Andy currently teaches three courses in the Botany and Plant Pathology Department at Oregon State University.

Botany: A Human Concern (BOT 101)

At the undergraduate level, Andy teaches an introductory, non-major’s course in Botany (BOT 101).  The course is focused on basic biological concepts, plant biological diversity, human uses of plants, and plant ecology.   There is a three hour hands on lab that is required for the course that is taught by graduate teaching assistants.

This course satisfies BACCORE requirement of Perspectives category of Biological and Physical Sciences at Oregon State University.  It can be a relatively large class, maximum enrollment is 144.  However, the labs provide more personal interactions between instructors and students.

In this course, students will

  • Recognize and apply basic concepts and theories in the biological sciences in particular how they relate to plants and related organisms across several scales of inquiry e.g. from molecules to ecosystems.
  • Apply scientific methodology, critical thinking and demonstrate the ability to draw conclusions based on observation, analysis, and synthesis of biological information.
  • Demonstrate connections between the studies of plant biology with other subject areas including history, economics, chemistry, anthropology, to name a few.

At the end of the course, students should recognize many of the common features of plants and have an understanding of the role that plants play in ecological and natural systems.

IMG_0982Plant Population Ecology (BOT 442/542)

Offered in even years, this advanced undergraduate and graduate course focused on basic concepts in population biology of plants.

This course aims to familiarize you with the central theoretical and empirical perspectives in plant population biology and ecology. The course structure — lectures, homework, written assignments, and primary literature discussions — provides advanced training and experience in integrating and synthesizing various aspects of plant population ecology.

Additional objectives include

  • Read, evaluate, and discuss studies from the primary literature
  • Synthesize information from readings and lecture to design new studies to explore the “next step” in a line of investigation
  • Develop your analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills through active listening, speaking, reading, and writing about topics in plant population ecology
  • Develop a 4 page mock proposal in NSF DEB preproposal on an area that is of interest to you
  • Participate in peer evaluation of presentations, discussions, and mock grant proposals
  • Gain familiarity with basic approaches to ecological modeling of populations (spreadsheet and R exercises)

forests-sub3Plant Community Ecology (BOT 543)

Offered in odd years, this graduate-level course is focused on the community ecology of plants.

Plant community ecology is a diverse field of research with many subfields and with an increasing number of connections between other ecological and evolutionary disciplines (biogeography, landscape ecology, ecosystem ecology, phylogeography, phylogenetics, genomics, to name a few). This course aims to familiarize you with the history and central theoretical and empirical perspectives in plant community ecology while bringing you up to date on current controversies and debates amongst communic ecologists and future directions. The course structure involves instructor and student led lectures and discussions, field and computer exercises, primary literature discussions and provides advanced training and experience in integrating and synthesizing various aspects of plant community ecology. The main objectives are for you to:

  • Read, evaluate, synthesize, and present fundamental concepts in plant community ecology from the primary literature
  • Develop and demonstrate your analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills through the development of an original field project and written report
  • Be comfortable lecturing and discussing novel topics in plant community ecology
  • Increase your proficiency with common ecological software packages and analyses in the R statistical computing platform

By the end of the course, you should be comfortable discussing diverse topics in plant community ecology and be able to understand a diversity of research talks and primary literature in the field and how individual studies and research questions fit into broader the field of plant community ecology.

Other courses

Introduction to Statistical Computing with R for ecology and evolutionary biology students

Andy has led several workshops for undergraduate and graduate students since 2010 at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  He currently teaches an R workshop coupled with STRI’s REU program and a more advanced R workshop for graduate students, postdocs, and senior scientists most summers at STRI  Current plans are to co-teach a summer workshop with Justin Touchon (Vassar) in summer 2016.


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