President’s Office

Photo of Alan Christian
Photo of Alan Christian

Alan Christian

I was brought up in Wisconsin by my parents, who were both K-12 educators. My family has a strong tradition of producing scholar-athletes and educators. My maternal grandfather is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and earned an education degree while playing football at the University of Georgia. After his playing days, my grandfather had a fulfilling career as a physical education teacher and football coach. My father was a student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where he studied history and education and played football. He became a successful high school teacher and football coach before transitioning to a career in K-12 administration. My mother also attended UW Oshkosh, majoring in education and library science. She had a fulfilling career as a K-12 librarian and media specialist.

Inspired by my family’s commitment to education and athletics, my brother and I attended UW Oshkosh to become educators and play college football. I was a four-year letter winner, was team captain during my senior year, and was asked to coach the running backs in my final semester of college. Deviating from the family tradition, my sister earned a business degree from a small liberal arts college and now works as a vice president in banking.

During my last semester of college, I received an offer to attend graduate school in the biological sciences. This led me to drop my second major in education and graduate that fall with a BS in Biological Science from UW Oshkosh. I then earned an MS in Biological Science from Arkansas State University and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Miami University. This led to postdoctoral and visiting assistant professor roles at Arkansas State University.

After two years as a visiting assistant professor, I accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at Arkansas State University. I earned tenure after four years and was promoted to Associate Professor. Shortly after tenure and promotion, we relocated to the University of Massachusetts Boston, where, in addition to my teaching and research duties, I led an analytical core facility, was an undergraduate and graduate student program director, and was director of the student success program and summer research programs. After nearly 11 years at UMass Boston, we relocated to Clarkson University, where I accepted a position as a tenured Full Professor and, along the way, served as Director of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and Associate Director of the Honors Program.

Throughout my academic career, I focused on integrating my teaching, service, and research efforts. As a professor and program administrator, I used high-impact teaching, research, and student success practices while being mindful of intersectionality to improve the inclusion, access, retention, completion, and graduation rates for all students. My research focused on freshwater ecology, conservation, and restoration, with an emphasis on freshwater mussels. My research supported conservation policy and regulation for a more sustainable and just planet using a molecular-to-to landscape approach that spanned environments from near-pristine systems to heavily disturbed and restored systems.


Since I moved to Collegeville, my main priority has been to raise our daughter, Cami, and our three dogs - Skippy, Freyja, Astro- and cat - Monique. Apart from supporting our family, I eagerly engage in Ursinus College events, passionately pursue my love of cooking and baking, and lead an active lifestyle that involves working out, gardening, and playing recreational sports. Furthermore, I serve as an adjunct professor at multiple institutions, teach online classes for the Marine Studies Consortium, and offer my services as a consultant on education and environmental science projects. Lastly, I also volunteer on campus, in the community, and for professional organizations.



  • Ph.D., 2002 Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
    Dissertation: Spatial and temporal analysis of freshwater mussel assemblage size structure, distribution, trophic status, and nutrient recycling in low-order streams
  • MS, 1995 Biological Sciences, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas.
    Thesis: Analysis of the commercial mussel beds in the Cache and White rivers in Arkansas
  • BS, 1992 Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin