Teaching Philosophy

Whether explaining biological concepts to a group of 200 or a single individual, Dr. Tanya Renner's teaching objectives are quite similar. Tanya aims to cultivate excitement and interest in the natural sciences, while also making concepts concrete, understandable, and applicable. When she walks into a classroom or research laboratory, Tanya's goals as an educator are to (1) provide context, (2) use interdisciplinary techniques for science education, (3) encourage students to analyze, test, and reflect upon acquired information, and (4) bring enthusiasm for the topics she teaches.

Fundamentals of Evolutionary Genomics (ENT 530)

1 credit; Graduate course.

Genome sequencing techniques are advancing rapidly and becoming increasingly accessible to scientists. The availability of genomic data for non-model organisms coupled with higher rates of generating new data have made studying organismal evolution at a genome-wide scale more realizable. These data are being used to answer questions in wide-ranging fields such as genomics, functional and structural genomics, transcriptomics, systematics, biochemistry, and ecology. Bioinformatic and statistical tools are improving to accommodate the wealth (and complexity) of data provided by genomes. In spring 2020, this course was team taught by postdoctoral scholar Dr. Chloe Drummond and Dr. Tanya Renner.

The purpose of this course is two-fold:

  1. To survey the types of genomic data available and the questions scientists are answering with these data, and,

  2. To leverage sample datasets to become comfortable handling large genomic datasets and gain hands-on experience with a variety of analytical techniques in evolutionary genomics.

Plant-Insect Interactions (ENT 497)

3 credits; Upper division undergraduate and graduate course.
This course is an introduction to and survey of the major areas of plant-insect interactions. This course explores how plant traits facilitate or deter insect behavior and development, chemical and structural counter-adaption and co-evolution, and how insects can benefit or adversely affect plant growth and survival. We will consider how plant-insect interactions influence insect population dynamics and plant community ecology. We will also investigate the effect of environmental quality on plant-insect interactions.

Introductory Entomology (ENT 313)

2 credits; Undergraduate course.
Introduction to basic entomology, covering insect diversity, identification, structure and function, and principles of management. This course is an introduction to entomology addressing issues of insect diversity, morphology and physiology, and identification of the most common groups of adult and immature insects. This course will highlight the beneficial and detrimental roles insects in human society along with responsible methods of pest management. Other topics such as insects as vectors of disease and the ecological and agricultural impact of exotic insect species introduction and climate change will be discussed.

Integrative Plant Communication and Growth (PLBIO 513)

4 credits; Graduate course - team taught.
Advanced study of plant communication, growth, and development considering molecular, physiological, and whole plant perspectives through lectures and problem solving.