Academics Robert Engel— Biology
In an age of specialization, Bob has acquired an unusually broad-based understanding of the life sciences. Since 1975, when he came to Marlboro from the University of California at Santa Barbara, he has taught courses ranging from general biology to tropical, marine and desert ecology, and from ornithology to comparative physiology and plant taxonomy.
Bob sees science as a way of knowing, a technique rather than a jumble of facts and figures. "The experiment is the method and the elegance of science," he says. "Good experiments are critical to the study of any system." He also believes that good biologists must be good naturalists; he eschews the sort of experimentation that isolates an organism from its environment. "I make sure my students are familiar with the biological environments of whatever they study, whether it be cells, organisms or ecosystems."
Bob is also a strong believer in the liberal arts. "People who understand the history and aspirations of our own species and who can speak to and understand different cultures, will make the largest contributions as life scientists," he says.
Community Service and Professional Actitivites
When not in the classroom, Bob can often be found looking for a rare Vermont plant or animal. He has also found time to edit a cookbook for the local historical society.
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975; Director, Marlboro Institute of Environmental Science, 1994 – ; Marlboro College, 1975 –