General or introductory biology courses can be significantly enhanced by exploring course content from the perspectives of other liberal arts disciplines. Engaging with other subjects has the potential to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of general biology topics and to increase their understanding and appreciation of the relationships among different fields of study. Moreover, this multi-lens approach can help improve students’ capacities to read, write, and think critically and strengthen their awareness of the relevance of science to all aspects of life. Instructors in general biology courses can develop creative content and assignments that include ideas and viewpoints not only from the natural sciences but from the social sciences and the humanities as well. For example, environmental topics can be further explored through the lenses of history, literature, sociology, media, and other socio-humanistic areas, each discipline providing information and perceptions about environmental questions and concerns and all contributing to a richer understanding of environmental issues and the interconnectedness of academic subjects. History may be utilized to examine the origin and development of the environmental movement and to highlight significant environmental policies in the U.S. during the past century. Literary works that explore humans’ relationship to the natural world may be included, and students can be encouraged to create their own poems and stories about nature. Sociology and media can be employed to examine issues involving climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice. Combining liberal arts disciplines in general biology courses can facilitate the development of enhanced critical skills, a more comprehensive understanding of course topics, and a greater awareness of the relationship of biology to other academic subjects and to real-life concerns.

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