Dr. John Taylor is an associate professor of biology at Southern Utah University whose research centers on the study of bats living in mines and at Utah national parks. In addition to conducting research and teaching biology courses, Dr. Taylor is assistant dean of Integrative Learning where he supervises SUU’s innovative general education program, Jumpstart.
Dr. Taylor also has an extensive range of service in the state of Utah, involving science education, government committees on education, and working with the National Science Teachers Association. He serves as president of the Utah Science Teachers Association, which supports more than 1,000 teacher-members, and serves as vice chairman for the Zion National Park Forever Project, an official nonprofit partner of Zion National Park. In this capacity, he helps guide the operation of philanthropic endeavors, natural history education, and the general business, supplying Zion National Park with millions in external funding for park operations.
An SUU alumnus, Dr. Taylor graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology/zoology. He furthered his education earning a master’s degree in zoology from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in science education at Syracuse University. Previously, he taught general biology courses for Utah Valley University.
Industry Expertise (4)
Training and Development
Areas of Expertise (10)
Collegiate Program Development
General Education Design and Implementation
Impact of Biological Problems on Human Affairs
STEM Education and Policy
President of the Utah Science Teachers Association (professional)
The Utah Science Teachers Association is a group of educators with members ranging from elementary teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers to university professors and members of the science industry. The organization's goal is to better science education in the state of Utah.
GE Assessment Design and Implementation (professional)
Designed and implemented a campus-wide assessment program using the CANVAS LMS. This program relied on the adoption of the AAC&U's Essential Learning Outcomes by the 150+ SUU General Education faculty. In one year's time, well over half of the faculty have successfully included the assigned ELOs into their courses and assessed the students using the new system.
Jumpstart GE (professional)
What's different about about Jumpstart? Everything. Imagine 50 students, 8 faculty, 34 credits, and 1 amazing educational experience. John Taylor designed and implemented an entire GE curriculum to become fully integrated within a one-year time span.
SUU Distinguished Educator of the Year (professional)
SUU Service-Learning Fellow (professional)
Fellows are selected by the Service Learning Center and University Administration for courses that integrate service-learning components into their curricula in exceptional ways.
Outstanding University Science Educator (professional)
Awarded to the top University science educator in the state of Utah as determined by the Board of Directors of the Utah Science Teachers Association.
SUU T-Bird Professor of the Year (professional)
Awarded to the top professor exhibiting exceptional teaching, scholarly activity and service to the field. Selected by SUU Student Association and general student voting.
Southern Utah University: B.S., Biology/Zoology
Brigham Young University: M.S., Zoology
Syracuse University: Ph.D., Science Education
- National Science Teachers Association
- Zion Natural History Association
- North Elementary/SUU Partnership
- General Education Committee
- iPadagogy Committee
- Co-PI Voyager Program (Science Education for Elementary Educators)
- SUU & Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Collaborating Council
- SUU Honors Program
- Department of Public Relations
- Concurrent Enrollment Consultant
Media Appearances (5)
This is how Southern Utah University is making general ed matter: Jumpstart
St George News online
One large change that occurred this year was the removal of the math requirement included in previous years.
“That one little tweak to the system helped a ton and it is probably the biggest change we made this year,” Taylor said. “More and more of our incoming freshmen are coming to us with varying needs mathematically. Some students may need remedial work, while others have already completed calculus in high school.”
SUU Expanding Jumpstart GE Program
The Spectrum online
Eight professors teach the Jumpstart General Education program on common core college classes with a spin: they do it together.
Taylor said the theme of the year, Freedom, is broken down into sub-themes, the first entitled Me.
“So the students explore: what makes me? Why do I listen to the music that I do? Stuff like that.” he said. “I taught them all about the human body because I teach biology and that overlaps with psychology that professor brought in the mind and where does the personality come from. Then the chemistry professor would jump in helping me help the students understand the chemistry of the human body.”
Eight Professors, 43 Students
Inside Higher Ed online
Despite calls by many to improve general education, including a decades-long push by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, colleges have an incentive not to mess with status quo. That’s because general education courses are generally cheap to teach.
“They’re treated as a revenue builder by most universities,” said John Taylor, an associate professor of biology and faculty fellow for academic affairs in the provost's office at Southern Utah, a public university located in the largely rural southwest corner of the state.
Innovative SUU program will cut time, money spent on general education
Deseret News online
This fall, Southern Utah University will begin its Jumpstart GE program, which will allow a group of incoming freshmen to complete their general education requirements in one year, a process that normally takes at least two years.
It's a different approach to a time in college known for bottleneck enrollment, large classes taught by graduate students or contingent faculty, and little or no student-teacher interaction outside of class.
"This is not the trend that we want at SUU, especially with these incoming freshmen," said John Taylor, provost faculty fellow at Southern Utah. "We want them to make a connection to higher education, to our institution, to where they see the value of their education and they want to stay."
Sterling Scholars Honored at SUU
The Spectrum online
"Each of the schools in these districts holds their own nomination process," said John Taylor, SUU provost faculty fellow, who served as master of ceremonies at the event. "They select the very best and brightest students. These outstanding students came to us and endured a rigorous selection process. Getting to this point is admirable, and it is a direct reflection of the quality of communities that these students live in. These students are simply awesome."
Research Grants (4)
Implement Cooperative Study to Understand Bat Ecology of Pipe Spring National Monument (PISP) and the Kaibab Paiute Reservation
National Park Service $40,000
Distribution and Relative Abundance of Chiroptera in Western Beaver and Washington Counties, Utah
Endangered Species Mitigation Fund
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Distribution and Relative Abundance of Chiroptera in Western Iron County, Utah
Endangered Species Mitigation Fund
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Altered Use Of Water Sources By Bats Due To The Presence Of Obstacles And Shape
Bat Conservation International
This simple inquiry-based lab was designed to teach the principle of osmosis while also providing an experience for students to use the skills and practices commonly found in science. Students first design their own experiment using very basic equipment and supplies, which generally results in mixed, but mostly poor, outcomes. Classroom “talk and argument” is then used to determine how their experiments could be changed to gather more reliable data. The final assessment consists of both formal and subjective testing, requiring students to explain their design choices.
Bat surveys at the monument have been going on for more than 30 years, but nearly all of this work has taken place from June through August, the peak time for bat activity (Kim and Johnson 2004; Johnson 2005; and Tyburec 2011). To identify optimal timing for pond maintenance, surveys needed to begin in early spring, when migratory bat species arrive at the monument, and continue until late November, when their activity sharply declines. Our intention was to determine whether some bat species use the ponds year-round or they only rely on the ponds in the hot summer months. We also wanted to know how much seasonal variation in use by different bat species exists.
A unique biological laboratory experience was created that fused together biological content learned in a General Education introductory biology course with content pedagogy and clinical experiences. The intent of the course was to measure the participants self-efficacy levels and biological content knowledge through the use of pre- and post-test assessments and interviews. Seven freshmen pre-service elementary students were enrolled in a biology laboratory section that spent significant amounts of time learning biological content and developing age-level appropriate lessons to teach that biological content knowledge to elementary-aged children. The freshmen students were paired with senior pre-service teachers. These teams then traveled to participating K-6 elementary schools and performed a total of four Kid's College events. A Kid's College event consisted of the entire elementary school participating in three, thirty-minute science experiences with seven-minute breaks in between. This Voyager/Kid's College experience took place at four different elementary schools throughout the semester. Despite a reduced amount of biological content within the laboratory section, the Voyager Program freshmen performed as well as other education majors within the same biology lecture course. Additionally, the freshmen participant's self-efficacy and biological content knowledge were assessed at the beginning and end of the semester. The findings suggest that this method of pairing freshmen and seniors together in clinical experiences significantly increased self-efficacy and confidence in teaching biological topics and can serve as a useful model to teacher preparation programs seeking to incorporate clinical experiences into currently existing science courses.
2004, 2005, 2006
BIOL 1010/15 Principles of Biology
Non-majors course in biology emphasizing mechanisms of living systems and impact of biological problems on human affairs. Course is designed to foster critical thinking, problem solving and the application of scientific thinking in biology.
BIOL 1020/25 Human Biology
Designed for non-biology majors seeking a basic introduction to human anatomy and physiology. Outlines the basic structure and function of the body from cellular to system levels.
BIOL 1610/15 General Biology I
It provides a basic foundation in the areas of biochemistry, organization and function of cells as well as the transmission of genetic information.
BIOL 1620/25 General Biology II
This course introduces Science Majors to the study of biology and the diversity of life. It provides fundamental knowledge of morphological complexity, physiology, development, environmental adaptation, and the evolutionary history of life on Earth.
BIOL 2000 Natural History
Natural history is the research and study of organisms including animals, fungi and plants in their environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study.
BIOL 2420/25 Human Physiology
Systematic study of the functions of the human body from the cellular to the systems.
BIOL 3470 Herpetology
Natural history and classification of amphibians and reptiles, including their diversity, distribution, ecology, reproduction, behavior, evolution and conservation.
BIOL 4070 Capstone: History & Literature of Biology
Study of the historical development of biology relative to personal philosophies of scientists and to social, cultural and technological factors by reading of science literature.
BIOL 4900 Biology Teaching Methods
Effective strategies for doing science in the classroom based on national standards for inquiry and the scope and benchmarks of biological literacy, with emphasis on science as a way of knowing.
BIOL 5560 Evolutionary Biology
Intensive examination of evolution as the conceptual cornerstone of biology.