Teaching and Research
I am currently an LB145 biology instructor. My approach to teaching and learning is based on the belief that learning environments should be (i) active, (ii) positive and (iii) flexible. I base my classroom instruction techniques on well-established pedagogical principles and I use backward design when assembling my curriculum, focusing on helping students develop critical thinking and higher order reasoning skills. It is my hope that the students I teach will learn a great deal about biology and be instilled with a fresh appreciation for the amazing microscopic and macroscopic processes that operate in the natural world.
I have research interests in both ecology and in science education. With regards to the former, I investigate the biotic and abiotic drivers of Lepidoptera assemblage diversity, richness and abundance over moderate temporal and spatial scales. With regards to the latter, I am working on a project with Jim Smith and Merle Heidemann to develop and test integrative cases in evolution education. The materials we have developed can be found on our evolution education website: www.evo-ed.com.
I recently created and piloted a research course in Lepidoptera ecology at Lyman Briggs College (i.e. an LB494 undergraduate research course). In this course, students work through the scientific process of making observations, posing questions, forming hypothesis and predictions, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating their results in the form of a final written project. Fieldwork is conducted across MSU and East Lansing in cooperation with East Lansing’s Parks, Recreation & Arts Department.
For more information about me visit my website at https://www.msu.edu/~pwhite/
White, P.J.T., Heidemann, M.K. and J.J. Smith. 2013. A new integrative approach to evolution education. Bioscience 63: 586-594.
White, P.J.T., Heidemann, M.K., Loh, M. and J.J. Smith. 2013. Integrative cases for teaching evolution. Evolution: Education and Outreach 6.