avatar for Mark Decker, Ph.D.

Mark Decker, Ph.D.

College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Associate Head and Teaching Associate Professor,

Mark Decker is Associate Head and Teaching Associate Professor in the new Department of Biology Teaching and Learning within the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. He has degrees from the University of Michigan, Purdue University, and the University of Minnesota, and was on the faculty of the Division of Biology at Kansas State University before accepting his current position at Minnesota in 1998. Regularly teaching large numbers of undergraduates encouraged him to work to identify and implement effective methods for engaging students, especially in large-enrollment introductory courses, and he has successfully applied several forms (e.g., PBL, POGIL) of student-centered approaches in his classrooms. His background in evolutionary biology has also promoted an interest in exploring how basic human social behavior influences the functioning of collaborative teams: the dynamics of human groups — i.e., in-group vs. out-group membership — likely affects how teams operate with anecdotal evidence suggesting that students view and evaluate team mates quite differently as compared to members of other teams. Mark is also currently launching a project to examine how empathy toward peers is influenced by team membership. He is the co-author of two recent books on the history of the evolution-creationism controversy, the last of which was recognized by the American Library Association as one of the Outstanding Reference Sources for 2011.