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Biology Prof Wins National Education Award

June 24, 2015

Dr. Robert Dowler, a professor of biology at Angelo State University, received the Joseph Grinnell Award for Excellence in Education from the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) at the annual ASM national meeting earlier this month in Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the ASM, the Joseph Grinnell Award was established in 1996 to honor individuals who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to education in mammalogy over a period of at least 10 years. The award recognizes excellence in education in the broadest sense. It encompasses not only the traditional roles of teaching undergraduate and graduate students in academic institutions, but also educational activities such as production of materials for federal, state or local agencies, public education through creation of museum displays, and enhancement or encouragement of education through stewardship activities. 

A 27-year member of the ASU biology faculty, Dowler is also curator of the Mammals Collection in the Angelo State Natural History Collections (ASNHC). In addition to his teaching and curating duties, he regularly leads ASU student groups on study abroad trips to the rainforests of Central America and the natural history museums of Europe. His research efforts have taken him to the East Indies, Guyana, Ecuador and Australia, as well as the Galapagos Islands, where he and his team of students discovered a rodent species thought to be extinct for nearly a century. 

Dr. Robert DowlerDr. Robert DowlerCloser to home, Dowler mentors both undergraduate and graduate student research projects, mainly concentrating on the various species of skunks in West Texas. He has received research grants and funding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Comptroller’s Office, Texas National Guard, James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation, National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society, among others. 

Also widely published, Dowler has contributed articles to numerous biology and mammalogy journals, including The Southwestern Naturalist, Journal of Wildlife Management, Journal of Wildlife Disease, Journal of Mammalogy and Texas Journal of Science, as well as to “The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals.” 

The Joseph Grinnell Award is just the latest accolade for Dowler, who also earned previous teaching and research excellence awards from the ASU Faculty Senate and ASU Alumni Association, the Packard Outstanding Educator Award from the Southwestern Association of Naturalists, and the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Research Award from the Texas Tech University System. 

Dowler holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources from Ohio State University, a master’s degree in museum science from Texas Tech University and a Ph.D. in wildlife and fisheries science from Texas A&M University.