Teaching impact statement by Associate Professor Timothy W. McNellis, Ph.D.

Prior to 2001 there was no general plant biology course at Penn State that had a theme of plant stress and few ways for undergraduate students outside of the College of Agricultural Sciences to learn about plant production and its impacts on society. The general education course "Plant Stress: It's Not Easy Being Green" was created to serve as an introduction to plant biology as seen through a lens of plant stress, including plant diseases and plant-microbe interactions in general. Course enrollment has increased from about twenty-eight during the first offering in 2002 to more than 100 students in 2014 and 2015 and in 2016 is predicted to climb to 150 students. The course is a general education science class that has become popular among non-science majors as a way to fulfill their natural science course requirements. In addition, students majoring in plant science-related majors take the course as their introduction to plant biology. The course was named one of the most interesting classes at Penn State. According to Onward State it is number one in the top ten most interesting courses to take, and this course has introduced hundreds of students to concepts in plant biology, microbiology, and plant pathology, thereby increasing their understanding and appreciation of the importance of plants and the impact of plant science to their lives.

Contact Information

Timothy W. McNellis, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor