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Bixler Selected as Engaged Scholar Faculty Fellow

By Clarke News  |  July 14, 2015

Iowa Campus Compact to serve as the 2015-16 Engaged Scholar Faculty Fellows.

The fellows will join in a learning community to improve their engaged scholarship knowledge and skills and will create a new or improved course or scholarship project.

Bixler teaches Environmental Studies and Biology at Clarke, with research interest in animal behavior. She has been involved with service learning for most of her teaching career and has found it to be a natural fit for environmental biology courses. Bixler obtained a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.

Bixler’s project involves students in her

“I’ve been working this summer with Tom Cuvelier and Cassie Allee, who will be teaching the Honors Global Science course at Dubuque Senior High School that my Animal Behavior students will be helping with this fall,” said Bixler. “We practiced Tom’s isopod (pill bug) food preference study, which is a really terrific example of scientific inquiry. I hope that we are able to make this collaboration work on a small scale this year, and continue and improve it in future years.”

Animal behavior has not been emphasized in the high school curriculum prior to adoption of the latest science standards, so additional support in this area will be helpful to high school faculty.

“Service learning provides a unique opportunity to promote the importance and increase the learning of scientific inquiry,” Bixler said. “My students will be more motivated to learn material thoroughly because they know they will be teaching it to others. They will think more deeply about the details they do not immediately grasp, ask more questions of me, and ponder how to make statistical analyses more straightforward for others. They may even see greater value in their learning because other institutions, faculty and students value it. Teaching high school students will also enhance their oral communication skills in ways that I could not achieve in a traditional classroom setting.”

Bixler is among the third cohort of Faculty Fellows selected by Iowa Campus Compact.