Biology faculty receive Plumeri Awards| April 21, 2010
Twenty William and Mary faculty received the award for Faculty Excellence in recognition of their exemplary achievements in regard to teaching, research and service. Three of these faculty are in the Biology Department. A feature article on the awards and all of this year's recipients contains the following excerpted descriptions of the work and contributions of Drs. Chambers, Heideman, and Swaddle:
Randy M. Chambers
Cornelia B. Talbot Term Distinguished Professor of Biology
Director of the Keck Environmental Field Laboratory since arriving at William & Mary in 2001, Professor Chambers is a wetlands ecology specialist who is perhaps best known in the College community (and beyond) for his expertise on diamondback terrapins. He teaches and researches across multiple disciplines (marine science, geology, environmental science and biology), and has co-authored many published journal articles - primarily in nutrient dynamics, invasive species, and turtle ecology in wetlands - with the numerous undergraduate and graduate students he has mentored. During his Watershed Dynamics, Wetland Ecosystems, and ever-popular Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy (ENSP) courses, Chambers is known to move students back and forth between the classroom and Lake Matoaka in an effort to bring lessons to life. He has served on the ENSP program's executive committee since its launch and is currently its acting director. He is active in the local community, where he has consulted with planners and regulators, served on committees, and taught programs to school-age children. Chambers holds a doctorate in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia.
Paul D. Heideman
Professor of Biology
Professor Heideman is internationally known for his work on the seasonality of reproduction in mammals, which combines evolutionary theories and reproductive biology and has implications for understanding brain function and the evolution of brain pathways. Praised as a "talented synthesizer and integrator," effective teacher, and devoted mentor, his courses range from introductory-level biology to Animal Physiology to graduate colloquia. He directs the ALSAM Foundation Scholars Program at the College, served as department chair from 2004 to 2009, and is currently the lead investigator and co-lead on National Science Foundation and Department of Education grants (respectively) that focus on recruiting, developing and preparing science and mathematics teachers for high-needs schools. In his 15-plus years at William & Mary, Heideman has developed two novel learning tools to improve student performance called "minute sketches" and "folded lists"; he is currently preparing descriptions of these tools for publication and notes that students often utilize them the rest of their educational careers. Heideman holds a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
John P. Swaddle
Arts & Sciences Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Biology
Professor Swaddle is an enthusiastic scholar and devoted mentor who often oversees research of nearly 20 students (primarily undergraduates) every semester. An expert in evolutionary behavioral ecology, many of his experiments and professional publications focus on the behavior of birds and their importance to ecological and evolutionary processes, as well as to human health, economics and culture. Co-author of Asymmetry, Developmental Stability and Evolution (Oxford, 1997), he has helped secure significant outside funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the College's Environmental Science and Policy program, which Swaddle directs, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). A 2004 NSF grant helped him and colleagues form the Institute for Integrative Bird Behavior Studies at William & Mary. Swaddle has provided key leadership for the College's biomathematics program, summertime Research Experience for Undergraduates, and biomathematics internship program with Thomas Nelson Community College. Swaddle currently holds his second term professorship at William & Mary and has received international honors for his work. He earned his doctorate in behavioral ecology from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, where he previously taught.