Michael Melampy - Biology
Biology & Geology
I was born in Cleveland but grew up in Iowa and southwest Ohio. My undergraduate degree in biology was earned at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and my graduate work in ecology was completed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I met my wife, Nance, while at the University of Illinois. Together we volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in Colombia doing conservation work and developed a deep interest in Latin American culture. After the Peace Corps, I taught biology for three years at the University of Puerto Rico before coming to Baldwin-Wallace in 1986.
What have you learned while teaching at B-W?:
I have learned that students meet the expectations that we, their teachers, establish for them. If we expect superior quality performances in the classroom and make that expectation clear, then students will respond with superior performances. However, if we communicate lower expectations through perfunctory or uninspired teaching, then our students will respond in kind.
What inspired you to get into college teaching?:
Much of my inspiration came from two of my undergraduate biology professors and from my graduate school advisor. My undergraduate professors demonstrated a real flair for teaching and loved to interact with students. From them I developed a sense of the energy and joy to be derived from undergraduate teaching. My graduate school advisor immersed me in evolutionary ecology and opened my eyes to the great explanatory power of evolutionary theory. Under her tutelage, biology really began to make sense and I wanted to share this feeling of discovery. Undergraduate teaching offered me an opportunity to share.
Describe the ways in which you mentor students interested in your department:
Many of our students come to biology with a very narrow perspective on the discipline. I try to open their eyes to new possibilities by encouraging them to get hands-on experience through internships and independent studies. I also encourage them to consider study abroad as a means of gaining new perspectives concerning their goals
and the environment in which they have lived. Consequently, students begin to think in a more interdisciplinary manner and often redefine their career goals.
If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?:
I might be working for a conservation organization like Nature Conservancy, or I might just be sitting in a remote Colombian village where I could eat envueltos and watch emerald toucanets.
What do students like best about your class?:
The field trips. They really enjoy getting out of class and off campus into new environments. And for B-W students, you donít have to go far to find new environments. The woodlands and streams in the Cleveland Metroparks are pretty exciting and exotic to many.