BIO103     Concepts in Biology


Instructor: Donald F. Slish (                     Phone: (518) 564-5160

Office Hours: M, W @ 10:00, Thu @ 1:00                                        Office: 304B Beaumont Hall

TEXT: In the interest of cutting your book costs, I am using an on-line eBook.  The text is Sylvia Mader’s Essentials of Biology.  To access this book, go to:    and register.  This link will take you directly to our class.  If you would prefer a hard copy, you are welcome to order one on your own.



            The objectives of this course are to learn to understand and apply the scientific method and to master core principles and ideas in biology as outlined below.




Introduction to Cell Biology


       1. A View of Life (and the Scientific Method)

       3. The Organic Molecules of Life

       4. Inside the Cell

                                    Exam I (Sept. 29th)


Information Flow in Biology


        8. Cellular Reproduction

        9. Sexual Reproduction

      10. Patterns of Inheritance


                                     Exam II (Nov. 3rd)


Introduction to Evolution


      14. Darwin and Evolution

      15. Evolution on a Small Scale

      16. Evolution on a Large Scale

      32. Human Evolution

      25. Human Nutrition

                                    Exam III (Dec. 8th)


Final Exam     


The final will be cumulative of all information from the semester.

This schedule is may change. We may not cover all of this material or we may include more, depending on how the semester goes.



                        Grading:                                                         Grading Scale:

            Final Grade for BIO103 will be                                                  A               > 95

based on the average of 3 tests and the final.                                          A-        90 - 94

                                    B+        87 - 89

           100 pts.              Exam #1                                                       B         83 - 86

100 pts.              Exam #2                                                       B-         80 – 82

            100 pts.              Exam #3                                                       C+        77 - 79

100 pts.              Final Exam                                                   C         73 - 76

100 pts.             Homework assignments                                C -       70 - 72

500 pts. / 5 = Final Grade                                                       D+        66 - 69

                                                                                                            D         62 - 65

                                                                                                            E       < 62




Attentive attendance in the class is strongly advised.  Tests will be based the on material presented in class and may differ from the way it is presented in the book. In the past, many students (20 to 25%) fail this course and the main cause is failure to attend class. 

Absence from an exam for sickness will only be excused when documented by infirmary staff or physician. Absence from an exam because of death in the immediate family will be excused when documented by the Office of Student Affairs.  If an exam is missed, notify me, preferably before, but within 5 days after the exam date. Students without a test grade after this period will receive zero for that test.



Cell Phone Policy

            When you enter a classroom, you should turn off your cell phone, as a matter of respect both for the instructor and the students around you.  If your cell phone goes off during class I will stop lecturing and call attention to you.   Class time is for learning.


1.      Turn you phone off when you come in.

2.      Do not text during class.

3.      Do not seek entertainment while trying to learn.  If you are bored with the lectures, please don’t come.  I am not taking attendance.



Cell phones, iPODs and any other electronic devices are prohibited during exams.  The use of an electronic device during an exam will be considered evidence of cheating. 


Withdrawal Policy 

The withdrawal policy in this class will be the University's policy, i.e., withdrawal from a class is permitted until the last day of course selection for the fall semester. Withdrawal after this time will only be allowed for grave illness or other serious difficulty. Withdrawal after this point will not be given due to poor grades. If you have failed the first two tests, seriously consider whether or not you can pass the course with a reasonable grade. There's no penalty for dropping before spring registration is over (i.e., everyone gets a passing withdrawal).    



IMPORTANT!  Be sure to check your Plattsburgh email account and McGraw Hill Connect site.  I will be communicating with you this way frequently.


A message from the University Administration and the Faculty Senate: 


  It is expected that all students enrolled in this

class support the letter and the spirit of the

Academic Honesty Policy as stated

 in the college catalog.




Assessment of Student Learning:  Analytical skill development and understanding of fundamental biological principles


The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences are committed to providing students with a first-rate educational experience as articulated in the Departmental Mission Statement:


            “The Department of Biological Sciences strives to provide students with the fundamental understanding of the principles and methods of the life sciences within the context of a sound liberal arts education.  Emphasis is on the development of the student’s ability to analyze problems, apply scientific method, communicate biological information, and interpret current advances in research.”


Student progress toward attaining the goals set forth in the Departmental Mission Statement may be assessed in part by an exam or quiz question that has been selected for this purpose by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences.