Why Penn State New Kensington? Outstanding Faculty
Dedicated faculty like Dr. William Hamilton, assistant professor of biology, make Penn State New Kensington a great place to learn. In 2003, Dr. Hamilton was publicly recognized for his dedication when he was awarded the prestigious George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Dr. Hamilton utilizes current technology like websites and blogs to communicate about his teaching, ecological research and observations. Professor Hamilton and Deborah Sillman, senior instructor of biology, have created several valuable online teaching and reference tools:
- The Virtual Nature Trail highlights and explores Penn State New Kensington’s Nature Trail.
- Between Stones and Trees, an Ecologist Hikes Western Pennsylvania describes the history and ecology of some of the great hiking trails in Western Pennsylvania.
- The Ecologist’s Notebook is an observational blog that explores the science and the wonder in ecosystems around us.
Hamilton on his teaching:
My courses are delivered in a variety of modalities. I lecture, structure material in on-line formats, and also guide students through assignments and discussions from their text books, the New York Times, and scientific journal articles. The more ways that you can explain or explore a topic, the more likely you will reach your students.
Along with teaching biology, I also try to teach students how to find and evaluate information, how to write, and how to synthesize that information into new and exciting questions. Science is a method of inquiry, and students in their freshman and sophomore years need to begin to formulate and ask relevant questions.
Students in all of my biology majors courses participate in research. They learn to ask good, focused research questions, and to develop methods to seek answers to these questions. This past year, fourteen biology students presented their research projects at our campus’ annual Research and Creative Exposition.”
Hamilton on his research:
My recent research centers on the historical ecology of Western Pennsylvania. I have combined my 34 years of ecological research with my love of hiking and developed both descriptive and experimental approaches to the study of the dynamic, forested ecosystems of Pennsylvania.”
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