EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 6, Issue 1, 2014
Evolutionary studies’ reproductive success and failures: Knowing the institutional ecology
Kristina N. Spaulding, Rebecca L. Burch, & Christopher D. Lynn
The Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Consortium has a number of resources available to help new EvoS programs get established, but there is not yet a clear formula that guarantees the success or failure of an effort. From the inside, it seems clear that any institution dedicated to liberal arts and science education should embrace a program that exposes students to the one theory with the power to explain all life and transform how students view the world. However, evolution education is no more the pinnacle of a Socratic “Great Chain of Learning” than humans are one of “Being.” To illustrate this, we discuss two initiatives where success may have seemed like a foregone conclusion because of previous successes in establishing EvoS programs at schools in the same state system but where, despite this, those efforts stumbled. On the other hand, a program initiated in the Deep South, thought inimical to evolution education, has taken off quickly. Comparing these endeavors highlights the variables in play within given institutions that must be accommodated. Those include the importance of tenured or tenure-track leadership, positively disposed administrators in departments and colleges, manageable teaching loads, as well as idiosyncratic institutional concerns. We consider how to overcome barriers for programs that are not initially successful and to ensure sustainability for those that are. The EvoS Program, writ large, must be general enough in body to adapt to an array of environmental conditions but specialized in focus to uniquely adapt and thrive.
How to cite this article:
Spaulding, K. N., Burch, R. L., & Lynn, C. D. (2014). Evolutionary studies’ reproductive success and failures: Knowing the institutional ecology. EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 6(1), 18-38.