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Doug Levey, Zoology Professor

Head of the CLAS

Doug Levey
Doug Levey

Zoology professor Doug Levey is not only one of the top researchers at the University of Florida, he is also one of its most beloved teachers.

In the 19 years Levey has spent at UF he has captured nearly every award bestowed by the institution. He was named the UF Teacher/Scholar of the Year, the highest honor given to any UF faculty member, in 2000-2001. He also was a recipient of a 1998 CLAS Award for Mentoring Undergraduates in Research, a 2000-2001 UF Research Foundation (UFRF) professorship, and a 2002 Distinguished Faculty Award from Florida Blue Key. Additionally, in 2004, he was named to the inaugural group of UF’s Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

"I appreciate the opportunity to teach a diverse group of students, from freshmen to graduate students," Levey says. "I feel fortunate that the university encourages many different paths of learning, from classroom lectures to field research."

Levey received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986 before coming to UF in 1987. His research focuses on the behavioral ecology of fruit-eating birds and seeks to answer how habitat fragmentation and the presence of habitat corridors affect seed dispersal and pollination, which are necessary processes in maintaining biodiversity.

As a professor, Levey teaches Introductory Biology, Avian Biology and various graduate seminar courses, including Darwinian Medicine, Frugivory and Seed Dispersal, and Conservation of Migratory Birds. He also directs SPICE (Science Partners in Inquiry-based Collaborative Education), a $3.7 million project funded by the National Science Foundation that trains and places UF graduate students into local middle schools.  The students spend two days per week in the classroom, encouraging inquiry-based learning of science in schools that do not have the resources to provide hands-on, in-depth science programs.  The goal is to foster interest in science and engineering careers among students who would otherwise not consider such careers.

"We focus on the middle schools because studies have shown that early adolescents, especially girls, begin to lose interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," says Levey, who serves as the principal investigator on the NSF SPICE grant. "If we can get these kids into these disciplines early on, there is a good chance they'll pursue them at the University of Florida."

 

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