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Dissection in the Laboratory

On December 14, 1998, the Department of Science of Rogue Community College voted to affirm the mandatory use of dissection in the laboratory component of its courses in which dissection is pedagogically warranted.

The rationale for this position includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Dissection involved self-discovery and cooperative learning.
    Self-discovery has been shown to be a profoundly effective means of learning for which there is no effective alternative.  Dissection involves cooperative learning, a skill that is necessary in the world of work and proven to be a sound teaching technique.
  2. Dissection involves the visual, kinesthetic, and concrete learning styles.  Through the physical manipulation of anatomical structures, both the visual and kinesthetic modes of learning are supported as structures are exposed and identified.  Color, shape, size, and many other spatial relationships among structures often can be discovered only through the direct tactile examination of those structures.
  3. Dissection is a practical application of parallel material covered in the lecture component of the course.  Whereas the lecture component of courses in the biological sciences often focuses on the factual and theoretical aspects of the discipline, the laboratory setting, including dissection, provides the working knowledge needed to succeed in the discipline.
  4. Dissection can enhance a life-long appreciation of living things.
    When approached with the appropriate perspective of reverence and respect for life, dissection offers an opportunity to observe first-hand the wonders of living organisms that no other exercise can provide.
  5. Dissection addresses the need for a multiple intelligence classroom experience.  Use of dissection allows those students with bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and naturalist intelligence to work in their preferred intelligence while helping to develop this intelligence in other students.
  6. Dissection is supported or encouraged by several professional organizations.  The National Association of Biology Teachers, Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, and the Physiology Society all support the use of dissection as a valuable and vital learning tool.
  7. Dissection teaches skills important in the Allied Health occupations.
    Through dissection, the students learn to observe and apply knowledge.  The student learns how to work with sharp and delicate instruments and follow safety rules.  It is also often the first real experience in the use of Universal Precautions that will be used throughout the students career in the Allied Health field.

Because dissection is fundamental to the success of students in courses in which such activity is a vital element, the Department of Science hereby declares that the use of dissection in these courses is not optional.