Bruce W. Grant

Bruce W. Grant, PhD

  • Chair, Biology
  • Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Media Expertise:
  • Science & Environment

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Evolutionary Ecology (1988)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)

About Me

Over the past 22 years, I have directed my scholarly activity to (1) research on urban ecology in southeastern PA (with numerous publications and presentations on urban conservation biology spanning herpetofauna, to stream macroinvertebrates, to urban moth biodiversity, all co-authored with Widener students); (2) research on the pedagogy of academic service learning (locally in Chester, PA, and internationally in Honduras) to enhance my students' higher-level critical thinking and metacognitive skills, civic engagement, and understanding of and engagement in global human sustainability; and (3) research on undergraduate ecological education, which includes three co-authored NSF grants (from which we created "Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology" [TIEE], published by the Ecological Society of America and now in its 10th volume), and a publication by the National Academy of Sciences on using evidence-based practitioner research to teach evolution (citation below). To this list, I have recently added a new project bringing together my interests in global biodiversity and international service learning.

I have established a new collaboration with faculty at Zamorano University in Honduras to undertake intensive field sampling of nocturnal Lepidoptera in the Uyuca cloud forest preserve in summer 2015. Widener colleagues and I have been taking Widener students to Zamorano University for Latin American cultural and tropical biodiversity immersion experiences over spring break for the past five years. However, this new project takes the biodiversity science connections to an entirely new level. For this initial trip, two Widener students will accompany me, after which my hope is to return annually in June through a new field-based global biodiversity course. Stay tuned!

Research Interests

My research interests include (1) urban ecology in southeastern PA, spanning urban herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians), urban invertebrates (principally nocturnal Lepidoptera and aquatic macroinvertebrates), and urban invasive plants; (2) biodiversity of Honduran Lepidoptera (new project involving field and archival work in collaboration with Zamorano University at the Uyuca cloud forest preserve in Honduras); (3a) pedagogy of academic service learning (locally in Chester, PA, and internationally in Honduras) to enhance student learning, civic engagement, and engagement in global human sustainability; (3b) pedagogy of undergraduate ecological education using practitioner research.

Media Expertise

  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Conservation biology
  • Ecological education
  • Herpetology
  • Biodiversity
  • Service learning
  • Environmental education
  • Reptile/amphibian bio-diversity


  • Grant, B.W. (2009). Practitioner research as a way of knowing: A case study of teacher learning in improving Undergraduates' Concept Acquisition of Evolution by Natural Selection. National Academy of Sciences Commissioned Paper from the NRC Board On Science Education Workshop "Promising Practices in STEM Undergraduate Education." (
  • Grant, B.W., Middendorf, G., Colgan, M.J.,  Ahmad, H., & Vogel, M.B. (2010). Herps in Cities * Herps of Cities: Urbanophiles, Urbanophobes, and the Urbanoblivious. Section 3, Chapter 4. In J. Niemela & I. Sherman (Eds.), Handbook of Urban Ecology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Grant, B.W. (2003). Campus ecology as a means to urban environmental literacy. In A.R. Berkowitz, C.H. Nilon, and K.S. Holweg (Eds.), Understanding Urban Ecosystems: A New Frontier for Science and Education, 355–369. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Ecological Society of America (ESA), Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), American Society of Naturalists (ASN)


  • Recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching, Widener University (2001)
  • Recipient of the College of Arts and Science Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award (1999)
  • PI or co-PI on 7 National Science Foundation Grants (>$1.2M) since 1995 at Widener University



  • Widener Faculty and Students Join in Stetser Elementary Garden Harvest

    Widener students and faculty visited Stetser Elementary School to participate in their annual end-of-the-year garden harvest. The gardening program, developed by professor Bruce Grant, is a place-based program which aims to improve the academic performance of Stetser students in science and promote social engagement in their school community.

    The program has engaged Widener students as part of Grant’s academic service learning enhanced courses with the goal of providing students with meaningful work and sustainable community development opportunities.

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  • Professor Receives Faculty Award for Civic Engagement

    Professor Bruce W. Grant received the Faculty Award for Civic Engagement at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor recognizes sustained outstanding contributions to Widener’s civic engagement mission through his teaching and research. Grant has developed service-learning projects working closely with community partners, including Stetser Elementary School, the Chester Upland School District, CitiTeam Ministries and the Ruth Bennett Community Farm. For the past three years, he, along with Widener faculty and student collaborators, have been developing place-based school garden curriculum at Stetser Elementary School to improve Stetser student academic performance in science, and promote positive motivational dispositions and social engagement in their school communities. Grant has taught academic service learning enhanced courses more than 20 times and has engaged hundreds of Widener students in course-based projects in science education in local Chester schools and community agencies that involve meaningful work for sustainable community development. 

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