Elizabeth G. (Betsy) Dobbins
Professor, Wilton H. Bunch Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellow, Mann Center Fellow in Community Based Learning
Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Biological and Environmental Sciences
Office: Propst Hall 117
Email: egdobbin@samford.edu
Phone: 205-726-2937

Dr. Betsy Dobbins is fascinated by the natural world. Deeply committed to environmental health, Dobbins and her students use small bottom-dwelling macroinvertebrates (insects and worms) and water chemistry to explore the impacts of urban development on the water quality in local creeks and rivers in the Black Warrior and Cahaba River basins in the Birmingham area. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Board of the Cahaba River Society, as secretary of the Executive Board of the Friends of Shades Creek, and as a member of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper Advisory Council.

In honor of her work with students and on environmental issues, Dr. Dobbins was the inaugural Paul N. Propst Professor of Natural Sciences (2012-2106).

A strong believer in fostering learning and growth through inerdisciplinary discovery and community engagement, Dobbins has garnered several teaching awards including the Samford representative to the Southern Conference Inaugural Faculty Team (2016), the Howard College of Art and Sciences Annual Teaching Award (2014), the John H. Buchanan Award for University-wide Excellence in Classroom Teaching (2008), the Samford Interfraternity Council Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year (2003), and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee Most Valuable Professor Award (2000).

Currently, Dobbins is the director of the Samford STEM Program (NSF grant DUE-1458811 "Persistence and achievement in STEM for community college transfer students"), the codirector of the Clark Scholars Program in Bioinformatics, and the codirector of the Samford Research Experience (NSF grant DBI-1157050 “Interdisciplinary research in a diverse Appalachian ridge and valley ecosystem”).

When she has free time, Dobbins likes to hike, garden, paddle local lakes and rivers, read, and travel. She and her husband, Allan, have two sons and live in Homewood, AL.

Degrees and Certifications

Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
M.S., University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Recent Scholarly Activity

Recent Publications

Dobbins, E. G. (2016). Media and the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring: an opportunity lost. In: One Planet--One Humanity: Communications for and Against. (J-M. Kauth & L. Manca, Eds.) Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Dobbins, E.G. and Fincher, R.M. (2015) Effectiveness of a summer STEM research experience in developing student competency. In: New Perspectives in Mentoring: A Quest for Leadership Excellence & Innovation. 2015 Mentoring Conference Proceedings.

Dobbins, E.G., Jackson, S.M.**, and Morse, K. (2013) Effects of a dolomite quarry on an urban stream in Jefferson County, Alabama. Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science, 84:1-16.

Duncan, S., Angus, R. Dobbins, B. and Haddock, R. (2013). A scientific review of the “Final Environmental Impact Statement Reevaluation,” Project HPP-1602 (530)(529)(502)(531) (532) Birmingham Northern Beltline, Cahaba River Society.

Recent Research Presentations

Williams, D.*, & Dobbins, E. G. 2016. Sedimentation in headwater streams in a state park. Presented: 77th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Li, T.**, Dobbins, E. G. 2016. Cumulative impacts of coal mining on the chemistry of the Black Warrior River. Presented: 77th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Williams, D.*, & Dobbins, E. G. 2015. The effects of park trails on stream ecosystems in Oak Mountain State Park Presented: 15th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

Bridge, E.*, Hamilton, L.* & Dobbins, E. G., 2016. Effects of a chicken processing plant on Graves Creek in Blount County, AL. Presented: 91st Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Dobbins, E. G., & Bakkegard, K. A. 2015. Negative effects of rock vane installation on local macroinvertebrate populations in Shades Creek, Jefferson County, AL. 76th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Van De Vuurst, P. *, Dupal, É. É. *, Dobbins, E. G., & Bakkegard, K. A. 2014. Trail use effects on stream salamanders and macroinvertebrates at Oak Mountain State Park. 2014 Alabama Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting.

Van De Vuurst, P. *, Bakkegard, K. A. & Dobbins, E. G., 2014. The effects of hiking and mountain bike trails on stream ecosystems in Oak Mountain State Park in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Presented: 28th Annual Alabama Water Resources Conference.

Dobbins, E. G., and Bakkegard K. A. 2014. Efficacy of rock vanes at reducing local erosion in an urban stream in Jefferson County, AL. Presented: 75th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Cole, T.J.* and Dobbins, E.G. 2014. Effects of surface runoff from a landfill containing coal ash on water chemistry in adjacent surface water in Perry County, Alabama. Presented: 75th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists. (Jeff Cole won the Elsie Quarterman-Catherine Keever Poster Award for best student poster.)

Mullen, M.E.*, Fleming, J.L.*, Davenport, L.J., Bakkegard, K.A., and Dobbins, E.G. 2014. Revegetation of an urban riparian zone: Species richness and population dynamics. Presented: 75th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Hill, D.*, Oeser, L.*, Bakkegard, K.A. and Dobbins, E. G. 2014. The effect of rock vanes on sedimentation in Shades Creek. Presented: 91st Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Sidwell, W.B.*, Brummette, M.*, Bakkegard, K.A. and Dobbins, E. G. 2014. Comparing Escherichia coli and fecal coliforms around point sources along Shades Creek. Presented: 91st Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Lewis, A.L.* and Dobbins, E. G. 2014. Chromium in the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River. Presented: 91st Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Ware, J.* and Dobbins, E. G. 2014. The downstream influence of abandoned mine drainage on water chemistry in Black Creek, Jefferson County, AL. Presented: 91st Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Rea, T.*, Dobbins, E.G., Bakkegard, K.A., and Graben, C.* (2013) The influence of rock vane remediation on local macroinvertebrate community structure in Shades Creek, Jefferson County, AL. Presented: 74th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Underwood, V.*, Dobbins, E.G., and Morse, K.J. (2013) The persistent effects of abandoned mine drainage on water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates in Black Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River in Western Jefferson County, AL. Presented: 74th Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Dobbins, E. G., and Bakkegard K. A. (2013) Shades Creek rock vanes: sediment and macroinvertebrates, Two years post-construction. Presented: 90th Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science.

Kronn, M.*, Veazey, F.*, Dobbins, E. G. and Bakkegard, K.A. (2012) The effects of rock vanes on sedimentation in Shades Creek, Birmingham, AL Presented: 73rd Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Dobbins, E. G., and K. A. Bakkegard. 2012. How to conduct a one-semester field-based, senior capstone course in three easy steps. 73rd Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Boatwright J. L.*, Carroll, V. K.*, Bakkegard K. A., and Dobbins, E. G. (2011) Effect of local bank erosion on macroinvertebrate assemblages in Shades Creek in Homewood. Presented: 72nd Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Nammour, C.*, Skinner, B.*, Dobbins, E. G., and Bakkegard K. A. (2011) Impact of local bank erosion on water quality parameters in Shades Creek, Homewood, AL. Presented: 72nd Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

Ojard, C.A.*, Parker, M.*, Dobbins, E. G., and Bakkegard K. A. (2011) A novel method for evaluating local sediment deposition in a third-order urban stream in the southeastern United States. Presented: 72nd Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists.

* Undergraduate student co-author

** Graduate student co-author

Recent Interdisciplinary Presentations

Dobbins, E. G. 2015. Questioning values through nature in A Sand County Almanac. Presented: 21st Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses.

Dobbins, E. G. 2014. The 50th anniversary of Silent Spring: an opportunity lost. Presented: One Planet – One Humanity: Communications For and Against, An International, Interdisciplinary, Research-Planning Conference, Benedictine University.

Dobbins, E. G., (2013) Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Einstein’s Relativity, and a posteriori arguments for design. Presented: 19th Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses.

Dobbins, E.G. (2011) Darwin’s Origin of Species: Uniting grace of expression and scientific understanding though metaphors of nature. Presented: 16th Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses.

Recent Workshops, Colloquia, and Invited Talks

Dobbins, B. (2016) "Research and the tell-tale heart." Invited Speaker. Beta Beta Beta Induction and Awards Ceremony, Athens State University, May 2, 2016

Dobbins, B & K. Bakkegard (2015) "Student research in a senior capstone." Invited speaker in featured symposium: "Undergraduate Research: Importance and Benefits." 92md Annual Meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science, University of West Alabama, March 13, 2015.

Dobbins, B. (2015) "Impacts of Human Activity on Shades Creek." Featured Speaker. Friends of Shades Creek, Homewood, AL, Jan. 8, 2015.

Dobbins, B. (2014) Clever Humans and what they do to their Environments. Samford University Retired Faculty Club, Sept 25, 2014.

Dobbins, B & K. Bakkegard (2014) "What’s Bugging You?” Analysis of water quality in Shades Creek for high school students with Jefferson County Dept. of Health, Sept. 6, 2014.

Cole, T.J.* and Dobbins, B. (2013) Quality of surface water near Perry LLC landfill, Perry County, AL. Presented: Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice and Alabama Rivers Alliance, Uniontown, AL, 25 July, 2013.

Chew, S., Dobbins, B. & S. McGinnis (2012) "When teaching challenges core student beliefs and values." Faculty Shoptalk, Samford University, Feb 21, 2012.

Dobbins, B. & B. Denning (Cumberland School of Law) (2012) University Fellows University Roundtable: "Personhood" Roundtable discussion on the biological, medical and legal implications of the personhood movement. Samford University, Jan 12, 2012.

Dobbins, B. (2011) “Teaching: What’s Motown got to do with it?” Distinguished faculty teaching award winners lecture series, Samford University, Mar. 1, 2011.

Dobbins, B. & G. Keller (2011) “Biologists on Evolution.” Christianity and Critical Thinking Lecture Series, Samford University, Feb 24, 2011.

* Undergraduate student co-presenter