Klemow, Kenneth M. 1991. TOWARDS A RATIONAL ECOLOGY EDUCATION STRATEGY FOR PRE-MEDS, FUTURE GENETIC ENGINEERS,. AND OTHER NON-ORGANISMALLY-ORIENTED STUDENTS. Invited paper: Ecological Society of America Symposium on Ecology Education for Undergraduates: Current Perspectives and Future Directions. Abstract: Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 72:163.
While some undergraduate biology majors aspire to careers in organismal biology, most are interested in the health fields, molecular biology, and other sub-organismal disciplines. Organismally-oriented students obviously need to know ecology and they generally take upper-level courses emphasizing basic ecological concepts and techniques. In contrast, non-organismally-oriented students, particularly those planning to become physicians or biotechnologists, often view ecology courses as a "waste of time". Since phenomena at the ecological level are pervasive and bear heavily on the biology of all species, any "biologically literate" person should understand basic ecological concepts and their applications. Even so, many biology departments do not require their non-organismally-oriented majors to take ecology as upperclassmen. Departments that do require advanced coursework often assign their non-organismally-oriented students the same courses as taken by organismally-oriented students. Ideally, departments should require their non-organismally-oriented students to take at least one ecology course as upperclassmen. However, instructors of courses with many non-organismally-oriented students should address the needs of those students by explicating how ecological principles and research contribute to other disciplines.