Joe Dauer

Joe Dauer

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  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
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  • Courses Taught
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Title Life Sciences Education
Address 524 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
68583-0995
Phone 402-540-1280
FAX 402-472-2946
Cell 402-540-1280
E-mail joseph.dauer@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hello, my name is Joe Dauer and I am an assistant professor of life science education in the School of Natural Resources. As a life sciences education researcher, I focus on how undergraduate students learn biology.

My life sciences education research is grounded in my background in ecology. My graduate research at Penn State University was on long-distance seed dispersal of herbicide-resistant weeds in agricultural systems. I continued research on invasive species population dynamics at Oregon State University and Michigan State University. I also completed postdoctoral research at Michigan State University studying undergraduate student conceptual model construction in undergraduate biology.

My life sciences research broadly rests at the intersection of biology (genetics, ecology, and evolution), education, and cognitive psychology. At UNL, my work focuses on how students learn to organize biological concepts using systems thinking. I focus on how students organize and store knowledge because this will determine how they are able to access that knowledge when asked to apply it in novel scenarios. When students store knowledge in discrete units (like knowing a definition of a word), they are limited in the ways they can apply that knowledge compared to another student that has a network of concepts. This is the core of 'chunking'. Experts in an area, create larger and larger 'chunks' of knowledge such that they have multiple access points to a concept. Novices, like many undergraduate students new to learning life sciences, have much smaller 'chunks' and need help in how to strategically add more knowledge and, most importantly, how to connect the knowledge pieces together.

Joe Dauer teaching a Life Science Class

I am currently working on two research themes:

1. Computational Modeling

I am collaborating with Tomas Helikar (UNL) to develop, deploy, and research how students learn to model complex biological systems (learn.cellcollective.org). We have developed learning modules related to cellular respiration, gene regulation, cell cycling, glucose homeostasis, and food web dynamics. On the research side, my lab compares students that build versus investigate models, examines the social nature of model construction, investigates how students relate data and models, and determines the alternative concepts represented in students' models. We are very interested in the process of modeling and how to improve the students' modeling competency as they prepare for careers in life sciences.

2. Ecological Systems.

I also conduct research on student reasoning of ecological systems. I have conducted research on student reasoning about food web dynamics and sexual selection. I am particularly interested in how students integrate quantitative reasoning into their ecological understanding of systems. Since biology in the 21st Century is largely related to quantitative modeling, I want to better understand how students develop mastery of both disciplines as they advance through their undergraduate curriculum.

In addition to being a life sciences researcher, I am an educator. I am often found preparing to teach Introductory Biology and Ecology courses where I integrate my research findings into my pedagogical approach.

Selected Publications

Dauer, J.T., Dauer, J.M. 2016. A framework for understanding the characteristics of complexity in biology. International Journal of STEM Education. 3(13). Online
Dauer, J.T. and T.M. Long. 2015. Long-term conceptual retrieval by college biology majors following model-based instruction. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 52(8):1188-1206. Online
Kowal, B., Schreier, T., Dauer, J., Helikar, T. (2015). Programmatic access to Cell Collective models via a REST API. Biosystems, 139, 12-16. Online
Jongejans, E., Skarpaas, O., Ferrari, M., Long, E., Dauer, J., Schwarz, C., Rauschert, E., Jabbour, R., Mortensen, D., Isard, S., Lieb, D., Hulting, A., Shea, K. (2014). A unifying gravity framework for dispersal. Theoretical Ecology, 8(2), 207-223
Long, T. M., Dauer, J., Kostelnik, K. M., Momsen, J. L., Wyse, S. A., Ebert-May, D. (2014). Designing Instruction to Foster Ecoliteracy Skills in Undergraduate Biology Education. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(2), 138-139.
Dauer, J.T. and E. Jongejans. 2013. Elucidating the population dynamics of Japanese knotweed using integral projection models. PLoS ONE 8:e75181. Online
Dauer, J.T., Momsen, J.L., Bray-Speth, E., Makohon-Moore, S., and T.M. Long. 2013. Analysis of Student-Constructed Models of Complex Biological Systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 50(6):639-659.

 

Selected Presentations

Using Education Theory: Learning From the Past to Shape the Future of Ecology Teaching.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 8/7/2013
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Long, T., Kostelnik, K., and Usoro, E. 2013. Using Education Theory: Learning From the Past to Shape the Future of Ecology Teaching. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting Symposium
Predicting ecosystem outcomes from concrete and abstract models.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 7/13/2013
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Thomas, S., and Long, T. 2013. Predicting ecosystem outcomes from concrete and abstract models. Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research, Annual Meeting.
Modeling the growth of new Japanese knotweed infestations.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 2/6/2013
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J. and E. Jongejans. 2013. Modeling the growth of new Japanese knotweed infestations. Weed Science Soceity of America, Annual Meeting.
Long-term skill retention in undergraduate biology students.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 8/7/2012
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Long, T., Kostelnik, K., Zdziarska, P., and Wagley, N. 2012. Long-term skill retention in undergraduate biology students. Ecological Society of America, Annual Meeting.
Change in correctness and complexity of student-constructed models during a course.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 3/28/2012
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Long, T., Momsen, J., Bray-Speth, E., Makohon-Moore, S., Kostelnik, K., Zdziarska, P., and Wagley, N. 2012. Change in correctness and complexity of student-constructed models during a course. National Association for Research on Science Teaching, Annual Meeting.
Attack of the Japanese knotweed rhizomes: How many, how far, how fast?
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 2/8/2012
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., and E. Jongejans. 2012. Attack of the Japanese knotweed rhizomes: How many, how far, how fast? Weed Science Society of America Annual Meeting.

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Affiliations (index)

Professional Organizations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
    •  
  • Ecological Society of America
    •  
  • Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research
    •  

Notable Websites

Areas of Interest

  • Science Literacy
  • Undergraduate Learning in Biology
  • Visualizations
  • Cognition
  • Pedagogy
  • Plant Ecology
  • Population Dynamics

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title NARST Annual Conference
Starting Date 1/1/2015
Principal Investigators
Joe Dauer
Ending Date 6/30/2015
Funding Level $500.00
Funding Source IANR Travel Funds

 

Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences


including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology
  • Human Dimensions

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences


including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
LIFE 121 Fundamentals of Biology II X X n/a
SCIL 488 Teaching Undergraduate Science X X n/a
SCIL 888 Teaching Undergraduate Science X X n/a