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Sherri Jeakins Morris

Associate Professor of Biology

Bradley University

1501 West Bradley Avenue

Peoria IL 61625

(309) 677 3016

Biographical Sketch

Sherri Morris is a broadly trained ecologist focusing on C cycling in terrestrial systems.Her research currently focuses on alterations to C and N dynamics as a consequence of land-use change. Recent focus on global C budgets requires detailed descriptions of the organic C content of soils across a variety of systems.An improved understanding of the controls on soil organic matter dynamics are also necessary to predict changes to these pools as a consequence of global climate change or further land alteration.Conversion of native systems to agriculture has decreased soil C content and altered turnover rates.Returning these systems to wetlands, forests or prairies has great potential to increase organic C content and restore soil physical, chemical and microbiological attributes.Following changes that occur in soil as a consequence of altered land use provides a model system for examining the controls on soil organic matter dynamics necessary to evaluate the potential impacts of global climate change.

Her research program has involved over 30 undergraduates in her 8 years at BU.Dr. Morris is a member of a number of productive research teams (MERG, CASMGS).She has been successful at publishing and grantsmanship (NSF, DOE, USDA).She has 15 research publications, 10 book chapters and 30 presentations to her credit, with 12 of the presentations with undergraduate student co-authors.She has two publications with undergraduates currently in preparation.  She has one publication and one book chapter (in Press) that focus specifically on reseach with undergraduates.  She was awarded BU's New Faculty Achievement Award for Scholarship in 2003 and the New Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching in October 2005.She is on the editorial board for two journals and is President of the Soil Ecology Society.


My Biology Scholars Research Project

Title: The Effectiveness of Inquiry Research in Building Science Process Skills?      

What is the focus of your investigation?

My investigation focuses on determining the degree to which inquiry in biology laboratory courses increases student’s science process skills. At Bradley University our sophomore core course has no lab manual. Rather, students develop and test hypotheses using a series of simple systems thus allowing them an opportunity to practice science while building and incorporating their content knowledge. My goal is to assess the degree to which this approach improves their abilities first compared to majors in the introductory series and then later as our curriculum changes to majors with a more inquiry driven introductory course.

For more information please see Context, Problem.


What resources/references have you found helpful?

Link to My Bibliography page for more detailed bibliography. 

What is your approach and/or what evidence will you gather?

 My research tools will include a number of surveys, analysis of specific analysis tools such as exams and worksheets as evidence of development of specific science process skills.  Please see my Findings, Methods page for more detailed information. 

What results have emerged ?

I have not yet begun to collect data.  There are however some examples of previous groups of students that I am currently collecting that will be used either as preliminary data or ideas for directing use of specific research tools.   Please link to my Discussion page in the future for more detailed analysis and thoughts.

What information may be found in your Appendices?

I currently do not have appendices. 





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