Tom Langen, a professor of biology in Clarkson University’s School of Arts & Sciences, was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award during the University’s spring 2022 commencement ceremonies.
The $1,500 prize is given “in recognition of the importance of superior teaching.” Candidates are nominated for the award by Clarkson alumni, and the final selection is made by a faculty committee.
Langen teaches courses in the areas of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation Science. His teaching interests include how to best apply problem-based learning and inquiry approaches to improve teaching in ecology and conservation biology, the use of publicly available ‘big data’ including citizen science data for undergraduate teaching and research, and how to design undergraduate summer research internship programs to best achieve program objectives.
Langen works with various national efforts to improve university education in ecology and other areas of biology and has done workshops for K-12 science teachers on integrated math and ecology. He enjoys field-based environmental education, and regularly teaches field courses in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and Costa Rica.
Langen’s research focuses on environmental management, including wetland restoration, road ecology, and endangered species conservation. Dr. Langen conducts research on the environmental impact of roads, the effectiveness of public-private partnerships for wetland restoration, and habitat management and conservation of birds and other animals. His road-related research has included the impacts of winter road management on roadside vegetation and lakes in the Adirondack Park, predictive modeling of hotspots of road mortality of amphibians and reptiles, design and functioning of wildlife barriers and passageways for turtles, and the impact of highways on habitat connectivity in Costa Rican National Parks. He is a consultant to NGOs, and state and federal agencies on environmental management issues, and he conducts workshops on road ecology and management for agencies and academic institutions in the US, Canada, and Latin America. He works as a volunteer for the St. Lawrence Land Trust, Northern New York Audubon, and Grasse River Heritage.
He has won numerous awards including the Society of American Naturalists Presidential Award, Editors Choice for the December 2014 issue of Biological Conservation, the Clarkson Outstanding Advisor Award in 2011, Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners Professor of the Month October 2011, Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica 2007-2008, and the 2003 Clarkson University Student Association Outstanding Teacher Award, among others. He has published many papers and book chapters as well. His little free time is spent with his family cooking, gardening, or exploring the Adirondacks.