Dr. Jim Arnett
Professor of Biology
Following a nine-year hiatus from teaching biology, while serving as Lipscomb University's Vice President for Academic Affairs, one of the most impressive lessons I learned was how much a scientific discipline can change in such a relatively short time. Most notable was the fact that virtually all biological sub-disciplines are now driven by various aspects of cellular and molecular investigation. The doubling time for this published information has become so short that no one individual can be expected to know all that is known about biology. Thus, it has become increasingly difficult to discern precisely what and how much our students ought to be expected to know in order for them to be successful.
At the same time, I have been reassured by the discovery that in spite of all the changes, some aspects of teaching biology at Lipscomb have remained constant. I still encounter in my students some of the finest people I have ever known. They continue to inspire and encourage me to grow and develop. Likewise I still enjoy association with unique professional colleagues who are remarkably competent educators as well as committed Christians. The spirit of cooperation and consideration that I found when I began my career as a new member of the faculty in 1974 remains alive and well at Lipscomb today.
Although at one time I taught more courses, I now enjoy teaching the new incoming majors in our entry-level sequence, "Principles of Biology," while also getting to spend time with the graduating seniors in a senior seminar course called "Capstone."
A challenging but interesting diversion from teaching over the past six or seven summers has been my work with undergraduate research students and interns. I have actively engaged a number of students in a multi-year ecological study of Radnor Lake's aquatic turtles. Most recently, one of those students received First Place in the zoology section for his poster, at the 2009 Tennessee Academy of Science fall meeting.
I have also devoted a good deal of time to the design and implementation of a new inter-disciplinary science course that is being considered as an alternative to the traditional general education science courses. One of the unique features of the course is its use of civic engagement as a means of involving students in learning science.
Education: Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University (1992); Ph.D. Vertebrate Zoology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (1974); M.S. Vertebrate Zoology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (1972); B.A. Biology/Teaching, Lipscomb University (1967); A.A. Liberal Arts, Freed-Hardeman College (1965)
Professional Experience: Lipscomb University: Professor of Biology (1997-Present); Vice-President for Academic Affairs (1988 – 1997); Professor of Biology (1974-1987); University of Arkansas: Instructor (1973); Graduate Teaching Assistant (1969-1972; 1974).
Courses Taught: BY 1003; BY 1134; BY 1144; BY 2213; BY 2444; BY 2813; BY 3903; BY 450V; BY 4802; SCI 1003
Professional Areas of Interest: Interdisciplinary curriculum design and program development; using civic engagement for science education; the scholarship of teaching and learning; physiological ecology of reptiles and amphibians.
Scholarly Activity: Supervise undergraduate research/internships; 2009 Poster Presentations: at: Fall Meeting of Tennessee Academy of Science; National Meeting of SENCER Summer Institute. Papers read: National Meetings of Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles/Herpetologists' League; Association of General and Liberal Studies; Coordinator of Annual Spring Meeting of Tennessee Academy of Science, Collegiate Division (1976).
Awards: Awarded Faculty Summer Research Grants at Lipscomb University: 1979; 1985 and 2003; Baker Award for Classroom Excellence (1986); Outstanding Teacher Award, Lipscomb University, (1983).
Professional Organizations: Tennessee Herpetological Society; National Association of Science Teachers; Tennessee Academy of Science
Church: Brentwood Hills Church of Christ