Amber Wright


Assistant Professor,
Department of Biology

Dr. Amber Wright of the Department of Biology with a focus on Ecology is committed to building quantitative literacy and fostering student engagement by creating relevance to real-world situations and to life in the Hawaiian Islands. Taking seriously student feedback and recent pedagogical literature in science education, she transformed her undergraduate teaching, increased student engagement, decreased the density of lecture material by emphasizing key skills and concepts, and connected material to student interests. A colleague observes, “Under Dr. Wright’s lead, a cross-listed undergraduate course incorporating both animal and plant ecology concepts has increased from 20 to over 100 students per semester. Reflecting current thinking on organizing biology conceptually rather than taxonomically, Professor Wright reached out to other departments to merge courses, reducing redundancy and increasing course availability. For graduate students, she focuses on the role of theory and models, hands-on computer programming, discussing primary literature and collaborating in small group discussions. A graduate student writes, “I cannot overstate how much I have taken away from this course, it was incredibly eye-opening and empowering.”

Department of Biology