Approaching Science as an Immersive Process
“When students come to UE, they will really experience science and the process of science.”
Dale Edwards, PhD
Professor of Biology and Department Chair
Why Teach at UE?
The opportunity to teach at a small institution grounded in the liberal arts brought Dale Edwards, PhD, to the University of Evansville Department of Biology 20 years ago. This presented the opportunity to be part of the changing face of biology education at UE and to help guide the curriculum and faculty in a new direction. This has resulted in a personalized, inquiry-based education that benefits individual students in a long-lasting way.
“Students get to experience science as a process, rather than merely learning a bunch of principles and concepts,” explains Edwards. “By immersing students in a culture of research and discovery, they will naturally begin to develop evidence-based, problem solving strategies and improve critical thinking skills, which are vital to anyone considering a career in the natural sciences.”
Best Part about Teaching
Edwards also appreciates the challenge of working one-on-one with the broad range of students who excel at UE. “Some students are naturally talented and intellectually gifted. Others have to work hard to be successful in the classroom,” Edwards says. “Despite these differences, UE students have a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn and be challenged.”
Outside of the Classroom Interests
Edwards can also be seen in the lab and library researching his own interests, which include the ecology and evolution of organisms with symbiotic lifestyles. “I have been particularly interested in addressing the evolutionary ecology of water mites (Unionicola spp.) that live in association with various species of freshwater mussels,” he explains. “Most recently, I have been involved in collaborative research with Noah Gordon [a fellow UE professor]. We are examining levels of parasitism among closely related species of tree frogs and the role that parasites may play in mediating interactions among these species.”
“The process of science is exciting,” says Edwards. And, beginning with ideation and moving through the research, experiments, and hypotheses, he is dedicated to bringing that excitement to the classroom where students can get excited about learning how biology can fit into different aspects of almost any area of study.
“When students come to UE, they will really experience science and the process of science. It’s more than facts, figures, and techniques. It’s a wonderfully dynamic process.”