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Featured Faculty: Darren Proppe, Research Methods I

Posted by lindsaybarden | Oct 13, 2015

Meet Dr. Darren Proppe, affectionately nicknamed "DProp" by his Au Sable students, this year will be teaching Research Methods I during Summer Session I at the  Great Lakes Campus. In the past, Darren taught the Animal Ecology course at the Great Lakes Campus during Summer Session I. Darren is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Calvin College and is broadly trained in animal behavior, ecology, and conservation biology. His research interests have focused on vocal communications and the distribution of songbirds in response to anthropogenic noise, building from his Ph.D. research at the University of Alberta.

After growing up saying, "I will never go under the ocean or out into space," Dr. Darren Proppe started his research career studying coral diseases on a reef 100 miles off the coast of Texas as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University. Shortly after graduation, however, a temporary position assessing populations of endangered golden-cheeked warbler in Central Texas shifted Darren's focus from the marine environment to terrestrial ecosystems. His interest in birds, the ecological processes that support them, and the need for conservation measures, blossomed throughout his graduate research and as an assistant professor.

As an educator, Darren strives for a relaxed, yet rigorous approach to learning about the natural world. He promoted applied learning through hands-on activities and example driven presentations. He is most invigorated when teaching students while immersing them in the ecosystem they are studying! Perhaps, that is because it is here that the beauty of God's Creation is most evident.

When not teaching or conducting research, Darren enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and his two children, Elliot and Grace. He prefers to spend this time in the outdoors seeking opportunities to hike, bicycle, bird, and cross-country ski. Darren's past experiences include: being a wilderness guide in Wisconsin and British Columbia, Canada; teaching scuba diving in the Bahamas and British Virgin Islands; and teaching outdoor education in California, Oregon, and Washington State. He currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Despite his failure to avoid going under the ocean, he still has no immediate plans to visit space.