November 17, 2011

Greta Binford named Oregon Professor of the Year

Greta Binford named Oregon Professor of the Year
  • Oregon Professor of the Year Greta Binford, associate professor of biology

Greta Binford, associate professor of biology, has received the 2011 Oregon Professor of the Year award, presented by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Binford, who joined Lewis & Clark’s biology faculty in 2003, immerses her students in scientific inquiry and encourages them to learn about themselves while studying other species.

For this profile in The Oregonian, the reporter visited Binford’s classroom and talked with students about a professor known for her engaging teaching style, love of research, and mentorship of undergraduates.

“She’s excited about what she’s teaching,” Melissa Rathbun ’13 said. “I don’t think I’ve ever learned more in any class.” 

Andrew Wood ’11, Binford’s research assistant, helped her collect spiders in Texas and plans to study biology in graduate school.
“As a teacher, she is extremely hands-on,” Wood said. “Her goal is to get you to learn to teach yourself with her mentorship, and she is phenomenal at that.”

Binford’s passion for venomous creatures and the joy with which she pursues them—into the basement of a Goodwill in Los Angeles or on a field expedition to South America—have caught the attention of many journalists and writers. In 2006, Burkhard Bilger accompanied her on several spider-tracking expeditions for a profile in The New Yorker (PDF). More recently, author Kathryn Lasky published a children’s book about Binford’s work, Silk and Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider. Binford has also been featured on PBS’s Nova and NPR’s Science Friday.

Learn more about Professor of the Year Greta Binford in this video produced by The Oregonian: