NCEP is pleased to announce its February Professor of the Month, Dr. John Mull of Weber State University!
John is a Professor of Zoology at Weber State University, located in Ogden, Utah, where he teaches courses in Ecology, Animal Behavior, Principles of Zoology, and Animal Biology.
John’s involvement with NCEP began five years ago when he participated in an NCEP Faculty Focus Group workshop at Black Rock Forest, New York. Today, he is a faculty participant in our NSF-funded CCLI/TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science) research project, Developing and Assessing Process Skills in Conservation Biology and Other Integrative Fields. As part of the project’s Data Analysis working group, John is implementing two NCEP exercises this semester, Applied Demography: Parrots and Palms and the What is Biodiversity? comparison of spider diversity.
In addition to his involvement in our CCLI/TUES project, John utilizes a range of NCEP modules in his classroom. He has used The Importance of Invertebrate Biodiversity in his Principles of Zoology course, and is currently implementing the Applied Demography module in his Ecology course. This spring, John is planning to try out the Colorado River Interactive Simulation Exercise, where students experiment interactively with water allocation tradeoffs, economics of water use, and the impact of climate change on the Colorado River basin. Where possible, John adapts modules to the local context by adding examples from Utah ecosystems. For example, when using the Importance of Invertebrate Biodiversity module, John talks about the brine shrimp fishery in the Great Salt Lake, which is located less than 15 miles from Weber State University’s campus.
Since becoming involved in the CCLI/TUES project, John has worked to steadily increase the active learning components of his class and lab activities. In his Animal Behavior course, John requires students to complete semester-long group research projects that culminate in a presentation and a paper written in the format of a journal article. Students collaborate on study design, data collection/analysis, and the oral presentation, but are required to write their own paper on the research.
Outside the classroom, John is working on a paper on the pollination of the dwarf bear-poppy with a collaborator at the USDA Bee Lab in Logan, Utah. The dwarf bear-poppy is a federally endangered species limited to just 10 small populations in Washington County, Utah.
Thank you, John – we are proud to call you February’s Professor of the Month!