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Robert Dawley

Dr. Robert Dawley holds degrees in zoology from Wayne State University and the University of Connecticut. Before arriving at Ursinus in 1989, he taught at Cornell University and Bowdoin College.

Dawley enjoys teaching first-year students in BIO-101 and CIE-100. He especially relishes taking students to study biology in the tropics, both Costa Rica (BIO-320, every other year) and the Gálapagos (occasionally). When not teaching, Dawley divides his time between his undergraduate research program on the ecology of suburban mice, writing a book about Charles Darwin and the Gálapagos Islands, and co-directing the Center for Science and the Common Good (CSCG). He works with student Fellows of the CSCG to bring speakers to campus, organize science-policy conferences, and engage the campus community in a conversation about science and society.


Professor of Biology




  • B.S., B.A., M.S., Wayne State University
  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut


Issues in Ecology and Evolution
Common Intellectual Experience I
Biology of the Neotropics

Research Interests

Evolutionary biology
Ecology of suburban mice
Liberal education

Recent Work

“The case for campus-wide core courses,” Phi Beta Kappa Society, Oct 2013

“Educating civically-engaged leaders in science,” HHMI meeting, Oct 2012

Principle author, HHMI grant to Ursinus College ($800,000), May, 2012