Biology Professor Wins UM Teaching Award

April 25, 2014

MISSOULA – From Missoula classrooms to the Peruvian rainforest, University of Montana Professor Erick Greene’s work makes an impact on students and his colleagues. So much so, that he received the 2014 UM College of Humanities and Sciences Award for Teaching Across the Curriculum.

Greene, a professor in the Division of Biological Sciences who has been with UM for 23 years, is known as a talented, passionate and accomplished educator.

He teaches everything from large-enrollment, general-education courses to his unique Peruvian field course in tropical ecology. In 2006, Greene revamped the main introductory biology course to incorporate a more hands-on approach. As a result, enrollment numbers exploded from 250 to 400 during the six years Greene taught the class.

His innovative approach to teaching has earned him high praise from colleagues, and students continually emphasize his winning combination of passion, knowledge, humor, real-world experience and concern for the success of each student.

“The natural world is endlessly fascinating and awe-inspiring,” Greene said. “I design my classes to make them fun, interactive and to give the students a chance to ask their own questions and explore their own interests and passions.

“But teaching is definitely a two-way street. I have to say that I get as much energy and infectious enthusiasm as I hope they get from me.”

Greene also is heavily involved in the Montana Osprey Project, a long-term study of osprey ecology and heavy metal contamination in Montana’s upper Clark Fork River and its tributaries. The project has become famous for its live online video feeds, which observe the nests 24 hours a day.

“Thousands of students have benefited from his dedication, his wisdom and his expertise,” said Charles Janson, associate dean and chair of the UM Division of Biological Sciences. “His success has inspired other professors to emulate his approach and thus has affected the success of even more students than he has taught himself.”

Now in its second year of existence, the Award for Teaching Across the Curriculum recognizes a faculty member for his or her excellence in teaching at all levels, and was founded by the College of Humanities and Sciences External Advisory Board.

In February, Greene also received the 2014 Tom Boone Town and Gown Award, which was established to recognize faculty members who foster a deeper understanding between the University and Missoula.

For more information call UM College of Humanities and Sciences Associate Dean Jenny McNulty at 406-243-4458 or email More information on the Montana Osprey Project and links to the live feeds of the osprey nests are available at


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Contact: Jenny McNulty, associate dean, UM College of Humanities and Sciences, 406-243-4458,