Biology Core Curriculum

College of Letters & Science

Janet Batzli

Associate Director, Biocore
363 Noland Hall, 250 N. Mills St.

I teach and interact with students, faculty/staff, and alumni -- all in the context of Biocore. In my current position, I teach two large enrollment lab courses (1. Biocore 382- Ecology, Evolution and Genetics and 2. Biocore 384-Cell Biology), I help coordinate the first and second semester lecture courses (Biocore 381 and 383), I supervise and train graduate teaching assistants, I serve as Biocore's undergraduate advisor and as a research mentor for projects out in the Biocore Prairie, I lead the Biocore peer mentors program, and I serve as the program Associate Director.

I am a plant biologist by training, receiving my doctorate from University of Illinois in 1998. My graduate research focused on the symbiosis of nitrogen-fixing microbes that form a partnership with a group of woody plants known as 'actinorhizal plants', including alder (Alnus sp.). This type of ecological research influences the many types of investigations we pursue in the Biocore Prairie.

I was drawn to teaching as a graduate student and was so inspired and excited about teaching science that I pursued a postdoc in science education at Michigan State University from 1999-2002. My particular interests in science education focus on how students develop scientific reasoning skills through 'doing science' and communicating about their science. In addition, I am interested in student misconceptions that form barriers to learning, and the development of curriculum that engages student thinking and provides authentic assessment of student understanding. (See some of the projects that we have done in the context of Biocore courses.)


  • BS Horticulture, U. of Wisconsin
  • MS Botany, U. of Maryland
  • PhD Plant Biology, U. of Illinois
  • Postdoc, Science Education, Michigan State Univ.