Department of Biological Sciences
Fall 2017 Syllabus for BioS 10 and BioS 90

Faculty Coordinator and Instructor
Course Objectives
Course Resources
Course Expectations and Requirements
Make-Up Exam Policy
Academic Integrity
Accommodations for students with disabilities
BioS 10 assignments
Course Lecture Schedule

BioS 10 (4 credits):  Bioscience in the 21st Century (Coordinator and Instructor: Vassie Ware, Ph.D.)

BioS 90-10 (4 credits): Science in the Media (Section Instructor: JENNIFER SWANN, Ph.D.; Lecture Coordinator and Instructor: Vassie Ware, Ph.D.)

BioS 90-12 (4 credits): Biodiversity in a Changing Planet (Section Instructor: SANTIAGO HERRERA, Ph.D.; Lecture Coordinator and Instructor: Vassie Ware, Ph.D.)

ALL Students enrolled in BioS 10
(Bioscience in the 21st century) as well as BioS 90 courses, “Science in the Media” and “Biodiversity” will attend BioS 10 lectures on MWF at 10:10-11am in Whitaker 303. Lecture attendance and lecture-based exams will satisfy 3 of the 4 credits for BioS 90 and BioS 10 students. Therefore, 75% of the course grade will be determined by lecture-associated exams and assignments (discussed below). The remaining 25% of the course grade for BioS 10 and BioS 90 students will be determined as discussed below.

ALL Bios 90 students will meet with their section instructor at an additional time outside of the BioS 10 lecture time, as specified by the Registrar. This section will satisfy 1 credit of the 4 credits for this course. Section-specific assignments will be determined and evaluated by each section instructor (noted above) and will be worth 25% of the total course grade.

Students officially enrolled in BioS 10 WILL NOT MEET in a special section outside of the lecture times, but will earn the remaining 1 credit through additional assignments specified by Professor Ware.  These additional assignments will be worth 25% of the total course grade (discussed below).

Faculty Coordinator and Instructor:
Dr. Vassie C. Ware
Professor of Molecular Biology
Department of Biological Sciences
Co-Director, HHMI Undergraduate Program at Lehigh
B-222 Iacocca Hall, Mountaintop Campus
Office Hours: by appointment

Teaching Assistant:
Brett Gershman, Ph.D. candidate, Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Department of Biological Sciences

Seonghoon Kim, Graduate Student, Biochemistry Program, Department of Biological Sciences


Course Objectives:
A major goal of this course is to communicate to students seeking training in a biologically-based discipline the importance of a systems-driven, multidisciplinary approach in bioscience. Several contemporary bioscience-related issues (e.g., genomics and advances in genome-based medicine, bioinformatics, cancer, neuroscience-related topics, physiological basis of disease, stem cell biology, infectious diseases,  microbiology, advances in engineered biomedical systems, social/bioethical considerations) will be discussed by faculty from different disciplines in order to highlight cross-disciplinary perspectives on fundamental problems and potential solutions in bioscience. This course is now an established tool in the curriculum for shaping an intellectual approach to bioscience that routinely values interconnections among disciplines and reduces/eliminates the tendency to compartmentalize learning “by subject.”  Students will be able to explain basic bioscience-related principles to understand fundamentals of topics discussed in the course.  Students will also be able to relate principles from multiple disciplines relevant to topics discussed in the course.

A second goal of this course is to provide scientific literacy for non-majors and the public.  Students will be able to formulate cogent discussions and arguments based on scientific data. 

Students who are not formally registered for the course are encouraged to attend lectures based on their interests.  Course materials including the syllabus and all lectures are available at with full access for the entire Lehigh community and interested members of the public.


Lectures will be presented on MWF at the regularly scheduled class time for both BioS 10 and BioS 90 students. 

BioS90 students will ALSO meet each week with their primary faculty instructor (Professors Jennifer Swann and Santiago Herrera) for a discussion session.  
BioS10 students will NOT meet weekly outside of the regular lecture period.  There will be additional “out of classroom” assignments that may include participation in choices of departmental seminars, writing/reading assignments, etc. These assignments will be evaluated by graduate teaching assistants, Brett Gershman and Seonghoon Kim, with input from Professor Ware.

Class assignments for the lecture and course reading materials will be available only for official course registrants through Course Site ( Course Site is accessible using your Lehigh ID and password. 


Course Resources:  
No texts are required for the lecture portion of the course. 

Several websites are available as resources for the course, as follows:

Bios 90 instructors maintain separate Course Sites ONLY for unique assignments associated with their discussion sections only.  Go to (choose the relevant BioS 90 course under “Courses”).

In Summary:


Course Expectations and Requirements

Lehigh University is committed to diversity, inclusion and engagement.  That commitment is captured in The Principles of Our Equitable Community. The Principles have been endorsed across Lehigh and by the Board of Trustees. At its December 2, 2013 meeting the University faculty approved a motion to include this statement on all class syllabi. For more information, please visit:

Lecturers in this course include Lehigh faculty as well as members from outside the Lehigh community.  It is expected that all course participants will extend typical courtesies to lecturers and class participants for the entire class period.  Students are asked to maintain a respectful environment in the classroom by avoiding cellular phone use for texting and checking email, computer use for non-classroom-related activities, disruptive conversations, premature exits and noise in anticipation of the end of a lecture, etc. 

Your regular attendance is important.  While all course materials and lectures are accessible on the web, there will be opportunities to participate in discussions with faculty lecturers and/or to have questions answered.  Active participation in discussions is only possible if you are present in class.  Periodic attendance checks will occur.  Additionally, opportunities to earn extra course points will be presented only to class participants on occasion.

This is a 4-credit course; as such, 75% of the course grade will be based on your performance on exams based on the lecture content (3 credits’ worth).  For both BioS 10 students, the remaining 25% of the course grade will be based on “other assignments” (see below for BioS 10).  For BioS 90 students, the remaining 25% of the course grade will be based on the requirements from your discussion session determined by your faculty instructor (BioS 90 – Swann or Herrera). 

FOUR (4) multiple-choice exams are scheduled (see schedule and below), collectively worth 75% of the final course grade. 

NOTE that the LOWEST SCORE from among the first three exams WILL BE DROPPED. 

All students must take EXAM 4 (during final exam period).  

EXAM schedule: 

(1) Wednesday, September 27, 2017
(2) Monday, October 23, 2017
(3) Monday, November 20, 2017
(4) Scheduled during final exam period by the Registrar (Date, time, location determined by the Registrar)

Please note that changes in the exam schedule may be required if a lecture(s) needs to be re-scheduled.

The 4th exam will NOT be rescheduled to accommodate student schedules except within University guidelines if multiple final exams are scheduled on a single day. 

NO cell phone or electronic device with internet accessibility may be used during any exam period. Violation of this rule will be considered a violation of academic standards and will be handled according to guidelines in the University Conduct System.

For EXAM 4, ~50% of the test will be based on lecture content from previous exams (1, 2, and 3), based on the content examined from previous exams.  This format will encourage you to re-visit content throughout the course from previous exams to be assured of your competency in these areas.  The remaining ~50% of the exam will be based on new material from lectures given after EXAM 3.

Exams will be based on lecture content, assigned readings (if any), and assigned videos.  Exams 1, 2, and 3 will not be cumulative throughout the semester.  Approximately 50% of EXAM 4 will be cumulative, as stated above.



Two (2) Hourly exams: 22.5% each (total 45%)
Final hourly exam: 30%
BioS 90 section assignments (given by Drs. Swann or Herrera) or BioS 10 assignments  (given by Dr. Ware): 25%
TOTAL:   100%

In general, grading will be based on the following scale:  90-100% (A range); 80-89% (B range); 70-79% (C range); 60-69% (D range); below 60% (failing). 


Since the lowest exam score (from exams 1-3) will be dropped (and not counted in the final course grade), no make-up exams are expected to be necessary.  However, make-up exam privileges will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, requiring written documentation from medical or administrative personnel.  There are no exceptions to this requirement. 

All members of the Lehigh community have a responsibility to uphold the value of academic integrity in their intellectual pursuits.  We have a responsibility to maintain intellectual honesty and to value intellectual property.  Details of expectations in the Lehigh community are available at  It is expected that students will abide by these standards in all course endeavors (e.g., exams, writing assignments, online discussion assignments). Violations of academic integrity standards will not be tolerated and will be handled according to guidelines in the University Conduct System.

If you have a learning and/or physical disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, please contact Professor Ware and the Office of Academic Support Services, University Center 212 (610-758-4152) as early as possible in the semester.  You must have documentation from the Academic Support Services Office before accommodations can be granted. For more information, please visit the web site at:  Please contact Disability Support Services at 610-758- 4152 for more information about accommodations.



Other BioS 10 assignments (worth total of 25% - based on a total of 100 points)This section is relevant for students enrolled in BioS 10 only.  

BioS 90 students are not responsible for assignments listed here (your 25% is determined by your BioS 90 faculty leader).

1. (Worth a total of 40 points). Several topics with relevant literature or videos will be posted on Coursesite for class discussion.  All students are required to participate in ONE discussion topic from among three choices. Detailed instructions will be provided on Course Site. 

2. (Worth a total of 60 points; 30 points each). TWO seminars outside of class must be attended over the course of the semester.  Only one of the two seminars can be from an online source such as  The other one MUST BE from seminar presentations advertised on campus or at another approved location.  Check weekly announcements (e.g., University Announcements) on the Lehigh website for upcoming seminars relevant to the biosciences, health, bioethics, engineering, etc. sponsored by different departments across campus.  The CHOICE of which seminars to attend is YOURS based on your interests and background, but must be relevant to a science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) topic.  Choose wisely based on information provided about the content of the upcoming seminar.  This requirement must be completed no later than the last day of class (Friday, December 8, 2017).

Students are expected to comport themselves in a respectful manner when attending seminars. It is expected that all course participants will extend typical courtesies to speakers and other seminar attendees for the entire seminar period.  Students are asked to maintain a respectful environment in the seminar by avoiding cellular phone use for texting and checking email, computer use for non-seminar-related activities, disruptive conversations, premature exits and noise in anticipation of the end of a lecture, etc.   Please try to arrive on time for seminars and give the speaker your undivided attention.

Numerous bioscience-related seminar possibilities are offered throughout the semester at the University (for example, Biological Sciences seminar series , Health, Medicine & Society Fall Speaker Series, Chemistry seminar series, iBioseminar series [], Bioengineering seminars, Physics seminar series, Engineering seminars, Mathematics seminars).  

A specific format for seminar documentation will be detailed on Course Site.  ONLY if seminar documentation is presented in the required format will the seminar be accepted for credit.  



Course lecture and exam schedule:  see schedule located at

BioS 10
Bioscience in the 21st Century
Vassie Ware, Ph.D.
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