Dr. Scott L. Rollins



Scott L. Rollins
Chair, Life Sciences Department
Spokane Falls Community College
3410 W. Fort George Wright Dr.
MS 3280
Spokane, Washington 99224-5288

Post-Doc, University of California, Santa Cruz
Ph.D., Michigan State University
M.S., Portland State University
B.S., Portland State University
A.S., North Idaho College


BIOL 244 Genetics

This course introduces basic principles of inheritance, the significance of the cell cycle events to variation, genetic links to physical traits, mutations, DNA repair, gene analysis and linkage. Applications and molecular techniques such as DNA sequencing, cloning, genomics and proteomics are introduced. Classical experimental methods and findings are examined in detail. Problem-solving skills that require logic and mathematical understanding are emphasized. Either BIOL& 160: General Biology, BIOL& 222: Cell and Molecular Biology, or instructor permission is required.

BIOL& 222 Cell and Molecular Biology

Intended for students majoring in life sciences, this course provides an introduction to celluar and molecular biology. Topics include cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, the cell cycle, and genetics. This class meets the A.A. degree lab science requirement. It also fulfills introductory biology requirements for the health sciences. A prior course in chemistry is highly recommended.

BIOL& 160 General Biology

This course provides an integrated view of the living world including the nature of sciences, evolution of biological organization, composition and organization of living substances, metabolism, control, reproduction, heredity and ecological relationships. Meets A.A. degree lab science requirement. Offered all quarters.

ENVS& 101 Introduction to Environmental Science

This course covers the basic concepts of ecology, including ecosystem structure and function, energy flow, biochemical cycles, limiting factors, population dynamics and community interactions. Emphasis is placed on the use of the scientific method to investigate man's current environmental problems and to propose possible solutions. Meets A.A. degree lab science requirement.


ECOL 101 & MATH 107 Learning Community: Organisms, Mathematics, and the Environment, Instructor, Spokane Falls Community College

BS 111 Cell and Molecular Biology, Instructor, Michigan State University

ZOL 890 Graduate Seminar on Applied Multivariate Statistics, Coordinator, Michigan State Univeristy

PLB/ZOL 355L Ecology Lab, Coordinator and Lab Instructor, Michigan State University

BS 110 Organismal and Population Biology, LON-CAPA Instructor, Michigan State University

BS 111 Cell and Molecular Biology, Technology Teaching Assistant, Michigan State University

BS 111L Cell and Molecular Biology Lab, Lab Instructor, Michigan State University

BIOL 251L Principles of Biology I Lab, Lab Instructor, Portland State Univeristy

BIOL 252L Principles of Biology II Lab, Lab Instructor, Portland State Univeristy

BIOL 253L Principles of Biology III Lab, Lab Instructor, Portland State Univeristy

Teaching Philosophy

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.


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.

External Funding

2014-2017. $199,924. Teaching Sustainability through Problem Based Learning Communities: Professional Development for the Teachers of Tomorrow’s Green Economy Technicians. National Science Foundation (NSF DUE 1400699).

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.