Susan B. Chaplin
Professor of Biology
University of St. Thomas
F21 Class of 1994
Susan Chaplin joined the University of St. Thomas faculty in 1990, after 14 years of non-tenure track positions as a faculty spouse at three other institutions, making her one of the oldest “new faculty” hires at UST. She advanced quickly through the professorial ranks, and sought out leadership activities on campus, through committee work, as department chair, Director of the Division of Sciences and Mathematics, and currently Director of Faculty Development. Upon finding an intellectual home with the PKAL Faculty 21 program in 1994, Sue has since organized and hosted PKAL facilities workshops for faculty shepherds and architects, as well as regional PKAL meetings on pedagogy tools and techniques for science and mathematics, and has presented several PKAL workshops at annual meetings. She especially enjoys consulting work with the Keck/PKAL program and has provided biology program and facilities reviews for a number of institutions.
Sue graduated from Occidental College and was trained as a vertebrate physiological ecologist at Cornell in the 1970s. She had an active research program on avian and mammalian energetics involving several dozen undergraduate research participants until 2004, when her research interests became more focused on student learning, especially in introductory, first year biology courses. With the help of a sabbatical leave during which she joined the faculty of Semester at Sea for an around-the-world voyage to 10 countries, Sue wrote 14 case studies for her biology courses, and has converted three courses to entirely case-based teaching. Her current research evaluates the impact of techniques to improve student performance in introductory courses.