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Dr. Chad Johnson is being honored at Founders’ Day for his contributions to ASU and the local community as an outstanding teacher and mentor to students. He is praised in evaluations by former students as a caring, passionate, and creative instructor, who is able to distill complex biological and ecological dynamics into clear, understandable concepts.
In his research, Johnson tracks animals through their life cycles, studying behavior in conjunction with ecological variations found in nature. His most recent research focuses on the study of behavior and population ecology/genetics of desert-versus-urban populations of black widow spiders native to Arizona.
He has taught a variety of life-sciences courses – including animal behavior, fundamentals of ecology, and general biology – for the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, located in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences on ASU’s West campus. He also has taught sustainability concepts to non-majors through a course entitled The Human Environment, and to honors students through a seminar entitled The Ecology of Human Disturbance. Johnson is a strong advocate of hands-on learning, and utilizes up to a half-dozen undergraduate student research collaborators in his laboratory each semester. Sharing his research and teaching expertise beyond the sphere of ASU, Johnson has developed a four-session curricular sequence that uses his research program with black widows to introduce middle school science students to scientific discovery.