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Sehoya Cotner

Associate Professor


Lab website

Degrees earned
  • PhD Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, 1999: Anuran response to habitat degradation in the neotropics
  • BS Biological Sciences (magna cum laude), North Carolina State University, 1992

BioSketch | Curriculum Vitae | Recent papers

Research interests

Strategies for effective teaching of evolution and ecology; Science (especially biology) for the non-scientist; Using sex to teach biology; Inclusivity in the sciences; In-class assessment techniques; Technology in the classroom

Awards and honors
  • H.T. Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor Award, 2014
  • GLBTA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Ally Community, University of Minnesota) Breaking the Silence Award, 2014.
  • President’s Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Program, University of Minnesota, 2010-current.
  • GLBTA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Ally Community, University of Minnesota) Faculty Leadership Award, 2012.
  • Office of Information Technology (University of Minnesota) Faculty Fellow, 2010-2011.
  • Dagley-Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota, 2009.
Research statement

I am passionate about both biology and biology-education research. My research interests have been, and continue to be, broad in scope and mission. I’ve published papers on teaching with technology, barriers to teaching and learning evolution, and gender disparities in the sciences. I have also published articles on strategies for engaging students in large lectures, including work with the Active Learning Classrooms project at the University of Minnesota. Current work involves identifying which elements of course-based research experiences (CUREs) are key to promoting scientific literacy; identifying and countering barriers to learning science; evolution education in Galápagos; and facilitating meaningful group interactions in the large-lecture setting.

Teaching statement

Teaching biology should be easy. We are all born scientists. We emerge with limitless curiosity and an insatiable demand to know “what” and “why.” But the students I encounter have experienced a lot since they were infants, and some of their experiences have made them cynical, less inquisitive, and afraid of ambiguity. My challenge, and therefore my philosophy of teaching, is to re-instill love of the unknown, promote confidence in addressing ambiguity, and foster delight in discovery. At the same time, I need to help students understand the personal relevance of natural science, and learn some fundamentals of modern biology. I also want them to realize that science is a social endeavor, directed by the questions we ask and guided by contemporary culture.


3-154 MCB
420 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455