Dr. Scott L. Rollins
As a teacher, my goal is to help students learn to think critically and to develop their abilities to interpret, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information about biology and environmental science. Research suggests that knowledge is constructed, as opposed to received; thus, I feel that my role as a teacher is to help students who have different levels of pre-existing knowledge, experiences, and potential misconceptions to build individual conceptual frameworks. I prefer teaching methods that incorporate active, inquiry-based learning that present students with realistic problems and encourage them to develop their own questions. Like a foreign language, it is possible to learn biology by memorizing rules and vocabulary, but this knowledge is likely to be shallow and short-lived. On the other hand, when students are confronted with situations where they must use their knowledge, it is likely to be more concrete. I believe that these approaches help students become better problem solvers who can think like scientists, rather than simply recall facts about science.
I try to maintain an active research program that involves students. I believe that research makes me a more effective teacher by providing a "real world" perspective on topics in biology. Furthermore, I believe that students learn more by doing science than by sitting through science lectures. Students interested in getting research experience are highly encouraged to see me about assisting in my research or starting their own research project. While my expertise is in freshwater ecology, I am interested in various aspects of applied and basic ecology.
Additional projects at various stages of development or completion:
Stevenson, R. J., and Rollins, S. L. 2006. Ecological assessments with benthic algae. In Hauer, F. R, and Lamberti, G. A., eds. Methods in Stream Ecology, 2nd ed. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
Soranno, P. A., Spence Cheruvelil, K., Stevenson, R. J., Rollins, S. L., Holden, S. W., Heaton, S., and Torng, E. K. Developing lake-specific nutrient criteria: Integrating predictive modeling with biological response gradients. Limnology and Oceanography 53(2): 773-787.
Professional Meeting Presentations
Rollins, S. L. 2006. Using periphyton to help establish numeric water quality criteria and nutrient reduction targets. 13th Annual Meeting of the California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup.
Rollins, S. L., et al. 2006. Water quality in the nation's salad bowl: Assessment and diagnosis in the Pajaro River Valley. Northwest Biological Assessment Workgroup Meeting.
Rollins, S. L., et al. 2005. Predicting diatom assemblages in minimally-impacted streams using a new hybrid modelling approach. Bulletin of the North American Benthological Society 22(1): Abstract. Awarded Best Presentation Emphasizing Methodology.
Zhang, B. H., Patterson, R., Richmond, G., Parker, J., Merrill, J., Urban-Lurain, M., Rollins, S. L., Webber, E., and Long, T. 2005. Using self-response systems and online learning environment in large college science classes - the technologies, instructional design, and implications. 2005 International Conference on Computers in Education.
Zhang, B. H., Richmond, G., Parker, J., Merrill, J., Patterson, R., Urban-Lurain, M., Rollins, S. L., Webber, E., and Long, T. 2005. A model-based reasoning framework for science teaching and learning. Proceedings of Teacher Education for the Schools We Need, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
Rollins, S. L., Parker, C. A., Gross, K. L., and Mittelbach, G. G. 2004. The Relative Importance of Biodiversity in the Stability of Plant Populations in Successional Communities. W. K. Kellogg Biological Station LTER All Investigator Meeting and Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting: Abstract
Rollins, S. L., Benbow, M. E., and Merritt, R. W. 2003. Road salt effects on wetland algal assemblages. 17th North American Diatom Symposium, Islamorada, FL.
Rollins, S. L., and Stevenson, R. J. 2003. Diatom species' responses along environmental gradients: Are they Gaussian? Bulletin of the North American Benthological Society 20(1): Abstract
Benbow, M. E., Rollins, S. L., and Merritt, R. W. 2003. Road salt effects on community structure and function in small wetland mesocosms. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting: Abstract
Rollins, S. L., Stevenson, R. J., and Hawkins, C. P. 2002. Predicting Periphyton Biomass in western United States Reference Streams. Bulletin of the North American Benthological Society 19(1): Abstract
Hawkins, C. P., Stevenson, R. J., Roberts, D. W., Rollins, S. L., Cao, Y., Olson, J. R., Creutzburg, B. R., and Anderson, A. 2002. The Western Streams Reference Assessment Project: Evaluating the Performance of Reference Classification Methods. Forum on Research, Teaching, and Outreach Programs in Land Use at Michigan State University.
Rollins, S. L., Stevenson, R. J., and Hawkins, C. P. 2001. Ecological Determinants of Algal Biomass in Western United States Streams. 16th North American Diatom Symposium, Ely, MN.
2007-2011. $660,000. Algae Biomonitoring and Assessment of Central California Coast Watersheds. Consolidated Grants Program, California State Water Resources Control Board.
2010-2011. $16,000 subaward of a $1,801,000 project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to compile and develop digital materials to teaching BIOL& 160, General Biology at a textbook cost to students <$30.
2003. $2000. Factors influencing the ability of algal communities to respond to environmental change. National Women's Farm and Garden Association of Michigan and The University of Michigan Biological Station.
2001-2011. ca. $4000. Various competitive travel, supply, and instructional development grants from the North American Benthological Society, Michigan State University, the Organization Committee for the North American Diatom Symposium, the Hanes Trust, Spokane Falls Community College, and The Evergreen State College.