Anne Alerding, Ph.D.


Courses I teach:  

  • BI 101 and 102: General Biology
  • BI 217: Botany
  • BI 322: Plant Physiology
  • BI 420: Biology Seminar 

botany large  


  BI 217 Botany Laboratory  

VMI Cadet Jenna Moye '13 teaching an AP Biology
student how to use a dichotomous key in VMI's
first teaching lab Fall 2011

Teaching Philosophy: I designed Botany to be an academic survey of the structures, functions, and evolutionary relationships among plants, algae, and fungi. Students gain unique perspectives on human interactions through workshops with local professionals (e.g. medicinal herbalist, broom-maker). I also incorporate community outreach exercises to allow cadets to gain valuable experiences as biologists while giving back to society. Cadets recently directed a teaching lab, guiding AP Biology students through a plant identification exercise with their personalized teaching plans. My Plant Physiology course presents a detailed study and analysis of plant functioning. To improve critical thinking skills in both this course and the Senior Capstone experience, students are required to read primary literature and are assessed on their performance as both discussion leaders and participants. I incorporate original research using hypothesis-driven experiments and current tools. Students learn genomic approaches with gene expression databases, present research posters, and prepare scientific reports. In both Plant Physiology and Senior Capstone, my guidance on report preparation and literature comprehension helps cadets improve writing, analytical, and evaluative skills that will be useful in their future careers. I teach primarily nonmajors in General Biology, where I also introduce students to primary research literature and scientific writing. I believe that all students are capable of success in the sciences. I encourage students to be active by using online course and to meet with me for study strategy and review sessions, writing analyses, and constant support and encouragement. I set high standards, and I work closely with my students to ensure they succeed.