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Course Syllabus

Course: BIOL 1450

Division: Natural Science and Math
Department: Biology
Title: Human Dynamics for Visual Artists and Performers (Formerly BIOL 2150)

Semester Approved: Spring 2017
Five-Year Review Semester: Spring 2022
End Semester: Spring 2023

Catalog Description: Human Dynamics for Visual Artists and Performers is designed primarily for students interested in the human figure and its form and function as it relates to drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, dance, and athletics. The focus of the course is primarily on the musculoskeletal system, but includes the study of the human species at levels of organization from the atomic through the biosphere with the study of cell biology, major organ systems, genetics, human development, evolution, and ecology. It must be taken concurrently with the laboratory, BIOL 1455.

General Education Requirements: Life Science (LS)
Semesters Offered: Fall
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Corequisites: BIOL 1455

Justification: Each year 30-50 new students declare Art as their major. The Visual Arts Department and faculty from the Dance and Athletic Departments have requested a general education biology offering that focuses on the human form and function as they apply to the fields of art and performance. This course fulfills that request, satisfies the Life Science/Lab GE requirement, and will provide students with a unique opportunity to study a wider scope of human biology from the perspective of an artist and performer. Study of human form and function, utilizing the scientific method and through observation, has been an effective model of study since the Italian Renaissance. The focus on these topics will effectively prepare students who plan to take or are taking dance classes or ART 2900 Figure Drawing and ART 2620 Figure Sculpture and provide enhanced knowledge for students on human performance. This correspondence of content between art and science courses will create a dynamic array of offerings and will provide a unique cross-disciplinary approach to the Life Science General Education curriculum. Understanding of human form and function is a requisite for many majors and it is an area that is continually being discussed by industry professionals as having a deficit amongst young graduates entering the creative industry, i.e. illustration, animation, character design, and choreography. For the natural sciences, science is the systematic inquiry into natural phenomena, organizing and condensing those observations into testable models and hypotheses, theories, or laws. The success and credibility of science is anchored in the willingness of scientists to: 1) expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by other scientists which requires the complete and open exchange of data, procedures and material; 2) abandon or modify accepted conclusions when confronted with more complete or reliable experimental evidence. Adherence to these principles provides a mechanism for self-correction that is the foundation of credibility of science. (Adapted from a statement by the Panel on Public Affairs of the American Physical Society which was endorsed by the Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1999.) While properties of matter and energy in the physical sciences are common to life science, the emergent properties resulting from the complexities of life require additional study to amplify and clarify the molecular mechanisms of life.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum will have a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world, with particular emphasis on American institutions, the social and behavioral sciences, the physical and life sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and personal wellness.  The primary purpose of this course is to give students a strong understanding of human anatomy, its relation to the natural world, and its application in clinical settings. As students read material from various sources (textbooks, secondary literature, and primary literature), participate in class discussions, and test their knowledge through short-answer and essay questions, problem solving exercises, other testing strategies, and at least one library project, and the final exam, they will display a mastery of human anatomy and its applications.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read, retrieve, evaluate, interpret, and deliver information using a variety of traditional and electronic media. Students will complete at least one library project and several test essay questions over the course of the semester where students can demonstrate effective reading, knowledge retrieval, and clear written communication.

6: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively about nature, culture, facts, values, ethics, and civic policy. Students will demonstrate scientific reasoning throughout the various topics considered in course content as they read the course material. Course projects and test essay questions are evaluated for synthesis and critical thinking.

Student Learning Outcomes:
Through the study of these concepts students will examine key scientific hypotheses and theories which seek to explain natural phenomena in the light of the scientific method. Class discussions, short answer and essay questions, problem-solving exercises, and other testing strategies will offer students opportunities to display concept mastery.  

Concept mastery attained above will be further tested in students as they apply concepts to faculty-selected questions dealing with the natural world, and in a limited, illustrative fashion those that impact art and the human experience such as figure studies, biodiversity, genetic engineering, environmental quality, human quality of life, climate change, etc. The main focus of the course is on artistic anatomy as it relates to the visual and performing arts, but will also consider the application of scientific principles to assist in the resolution of problems exemplified by one or more issues. The students will demonstrate their awareness as to how such concepts lead to the development of solutions to these problems through class discussions, short-answer and essay questions, problem-solving exercises, and library projects. 

Not all information available on the internet, or in written form, or spoken, is of equal validity. Peer-reviewed journals and respected reviews as well as constant questioning and research still remain the bulward for evaluating the usefulness or credibility of scientific information. Students will read and discuss key scientific literature to gain skills necessary to discern credibility of sources of scientific information. Class discussion, essays, or library projects are the best vehichles to ascertain student skills. 

The answer to this question will direct the teacher in regard to improving the course until all students find at least one concept that they become passionate about. 

Through lecture, discussion, assessment and practical application, students will study the following topics: Science; Evolution; Ecology; Chemistry of life; Cell structure; Cell function; Human development; Body organization; Introduction to the skeletal system; Axial skeleton and its contribution to the human form; Appendicular skeleton and its contribution to form; Introduction to muscles; General gross anatomy; Muscles of the axial skeleton; Muscles of the pectoral girdle and upper extremity; Muscles of the pelvic girdle and lower extremity; Eyes, ears, mouth, and nose; Other surface features; Reproductive system

Key Performance Indicators:
brief short answer quizzes are given in class approximately once a week: 30%-40% of the final grade 

lecture and final exams: 50%-60% of the final grade 

homework assignment such as a letter of introduction, a pretest, study group formation, and completion of assignments in the course study guide: approximately 5%-10% of final grade. 








Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Eliot Goldfinger, Human Anatomy for Artists The Elements of Form, current edition, Oxford University Press, New York; Gordon, J. et al. 2013. Anatomy and Physiology, current edition, OpenStax; Avissar, Yael. 2013. Biology, current edition. OpenStax; Paul A. Gardner, A Study Guide for Human Anatomy for the Artist, current edition.

Pedagogy Statement:

Instructional Mediums:

Maximum Class Size: 24
Optimum Class Size: 24