Robert "Rob" K. Swihart

Purdue University
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
715 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061
Office Phone: (765) 494-3590
Office Fax: (765) 494-9461
Office Location: Pfendler Hall, Room 125
E-mail Address:
Courses and Learning Reprints  Curriculum Vitae

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Courses and Learning -

Since arriving at Purdue, I've taught courses in Wildlife Ecology, Ecology and Systematics of Fish and Mammals (mammal portion), Mammalogy, Vertebrate Population Dynamics, the Natural Resources Practicum, seminars in Conservation Biology, Introduction to Forestry and Natural Resources, and Quantitative Methods for Ecologists, as well as numerous special problems courses. I've focused on enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving skills among students. I've used panel discussions, team research projects, oral presentations, peer review of scientific reports, and promotion of extracurricular learning experiences to improve students' ability to communicate and to think critically and analytically. 

I strive to foster an academic atmosphere that is conducive to learning by graduate and undergraduate students. As past chair of the department's graduate committee, I take an active role in mentoring graduate students and created a peer mentoring program to ease the transition of new students into life at Purdue.

I firmly believe that providing students with research experiences as undergraduates is an effective means of developing the problem-solving capabilities and team-building skills required of natural resource professionals. I have advised about 20 undergraduate students on independent research projects and employed >80 as research assistants. Of these, at least 20 have continued their studies in graduate school.  I also believe that curricula should remain timely and reflective of professional needs and faculty expertise.  Accordingly, the department has undertaken a comprehensive review of its undergraduate curriculum to focus explicitly on learning outcomes and to address potential gaps that merit attention.

Over an 8-year period I had the pleasure of serving as a faculty fellow at 3 Purdue residence halls. As a member of the American Society of Mammalogists, I've been involved in the organization and operation of two educational programs, Breakfast with a Scientist and Student Mentoring, that are now fixtures of the annual meeting.  I enjoy getting together with students in informal settings whenever possible, whether on a basketball court, a golf course, or a local pub.

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