News & Resources

Featured Faculty: Tim Van Deelen, Wildlife Ecology

Posted by Paul Wiemerslage | Nov 25, 2014

Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Tim Van Deelen is known throughout the scientific community as an expert on deer and wolf ecology and wolf-deer interactions in the United States Upper Midwest, and the ecology of exploited species. Receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Calvin College (Michigan), and an MS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana before completing his PhD in Wildlife Ecology from Michigan State University, Tim served as a Natural Resource Scientist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and as a Forest Wildlife Ecologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey before assuming his present position at UW-Madison. Expert in both experimental field studies, applied conservation and theoretical modeling of predator-prey interactions, Tim’s work has appeared in such publications as Journal of Wildlife Management, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, Ecological Modeling, and Landscape Ecology, and he is a co-editor of the recent book, Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes Region of the United States (Springer 2009).

For students interested in the study of wildlife, Tim’s Au Sable class in Wildlife Ecology (Great Lakes Campus, Summer Session II) has been, for many, one of the fastest and most direct routes to opportunity for graduate study and professional employment. Au Sable alumnus David MacFarland, now Carnivore Specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, noted that, through his experiences in Tim’s Wildlife Ecology class, “I was immersed in field-based learning, developing skills which led directly to my acceptance into graduate school.” Despite the multiple opportunities, rigorous demands, and high expectations that come with serving on the faculty of a major state university like UW-Madison, Tim, himself an Au Sable alumnus, returns to Au Sable each year to teach Wildlife Ecology because, in his words, “I appreciate the community of Christian scholars and students and the common mission of training for the care of creation. The other professors are good friends and the sense of community that develops during each session with each new cohort of students is remarkable.”

Tim understands his faith in Christ to find unique expression in his teaching and research. As he explains, “Humans are faced with urgent questions about what it means live as responsible users of natural resources. Conservation and stewardship are synonyms that tend to live in different disciplines. Applied environmental and natural resource scientists mostly view their science as serving a conservation mission where the focus is on rigorous answers to questions of “how?”. Theologians, ethicists, and clergy concerned with a Christian view of stewardship tend to focus on rigorous answers to questions of “why?” I am interested in both.”

Tim Van Deelen’s course in Wildlife Ecology at Au Sable offers field experience and instruction at the highest level of current wildlife science for every student who accepts the challenge of learning from a scientist respected worldwide for his accomplishments. Au Sable counts it a privilege to name Tim Van Deelen among its faculty.