57 An Appreciation and Understanding of Nature | Colleen Jacks

The mission statement of the College describes the excellence of education provided by Gustavus and that the faculty are expected to “embody the highest standards of teaching and scholarship.”  In the spirit of the mission statement, I try to instill in my students an appreciation and understanding of nature.  This understanding is critical as humanity attempts to solve its social, political, and economic problems such as world hunger and pollution.  The applications of our accumulating knowledge in the field of genetics have spawned new and important ethical questions, none with easy answers.  To “foster the development of values” in a scientific context, I use these questions and others related to issues in biology to encourage my students to consider moral and ethical dimensions of scientific results.  Hopefully they come to a deeper understanding of these complex issues and what constitutes moral behavior in our society.

I greatly appreciate the sense of community that makes Gustavus distinctive among other colleges in our cohort, and feel that this fosters a positive environment for students and faculty alike.  I support the goal of diversity found in our mission statement – the institutional grant projects in which I’ve participated such as HHMI and S-STEM have had a goal of increasing and nurturing diversity at our institution.  I also take great pleasure in the co-curricular aspects of the Gustavus experience, attending my students’ sporting events and artistic performances, both for their entertainment and aesthetic values as well as for what I learn about my students’ abilities and interests outside of the classroom.