Richard Gill developed an interest in ecology as a child while exploring the forests and seashores of Washington State. This attraction to wild places motivated Dr. Gill to study Conservation Biology as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University and to receive a PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University. His PhD research on plant-soil interactions in dryland ecosystems, supervised by Indy Burke, dovetailed well with his postodoctoral research on plant physiological ecology with Rob Jackson at Duke University. Dr. Gill returned home to Washington in his first faculty position at Washington State University. There he pursued research on global change ecology, studying the impacts of changes in atmospheric CO2, temperature, and drought. In 2008 he joined the faculty of his alma mater as an associate professor of biology. He teaches in Conservation Biology courses and in the general and honors education curriculum.
Research InterestsMy research program focuses on ecosystem and community responses to climate variability. My research is directly relevant to the courses that I teach. I believe that my research addresses key questions to understand and mitigate the influence of humans on global climate and to address key resource issues in the American West and developing small-island states in the South Pacific.
Teaching InterestsMy long-term goals as a teacher are to instill enthusiasm for science and develop life-long critical thinking skills in my students. I assert that one of the ways that I can achieve this goal is through a critical assessment of past teaching approaches and through a theory-driven modification of my approach to teaching. My teaching is driven by the philosophy that active learning increases information retention, critical thinking, and long-term learning behaviors. My goal is to include pedagogy in my scholarship and as a reflection of this I have published 3 papers related to teaching, including two in the Journal of College Science Teaching. I continue to seek additional ways to improve my teaching and have attended two professional development meetings related to science and diversity education.
BIO 100-General Biology
BIO 450-Capstone in Biodiversity and Conservation
BIO 653-Community and Ecosystem Ecology
HONORS 220-Unexpected Connections
Honors and Awards
- Alcuin Fellowship, General Education (2015 - 2017)
- College of Life Sciences Teaching Award, College of LIfe Sciences, BYU (2011 - 2011)
- Biology: Department Chair ( - Present)