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SCOTT WEIR PROFES SOR


On Friday, March 13, Scott Weir, an assistant professor of biology, met with senior biology major Mandi Moxie in his office. She had an idea: Why not don her cap and gown, reach out to some friends and have an impromptu graduation ceremony on Hall Brown Terrace? “I said, ‘Tat’s a really good idea. I’ll throw on my


regalia if you want, and we can take some pictures,’ ” recalled Weir, 36, who’s taught at Queens since 2015. “I went out there and took some photos with at least some of the science students who I knew.” Weir spent the first few days after March 12 trying to


figure out how to assign lab work when the lab was off- limits. Lucky for him, he was teaching only one spring semester course: Biodiversity & Ecology Foundations (BIO


202), a freshman-level class that in normal times requires students to collect data in the field. After Weir consulted with colleagues, he decided to have students submit research proposals based on photographs taken of their natural surroundings wherever they happened to go after campus shut down. Weir discovered that the new paradigm had unexpected benefits and that it worked in helping students meet learning objectives for the course. In addition, not having to dress for work and commute saves time, and biology doesn’t always conform well to class schedules and office hours. “It’s challenging,” he said, “but in some ways, it also gives you a lot of freedom and a lot of flexibility.”


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MAGAZINE


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