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Benjamin England

Research Interest

biology education, science education, teaching and learning

Faculty Advisor(s)



EdD in Biology Education, Ball State University, 2015
MS in Biology, Ball State University, 2012
BA in Biology, Taylor University, 2010


My passion for education started when I was serving as a teaching assistant during my sophomore year of college. I knew I wanted to be involved with teaching for the rest of my life. My interest in education took me from my small liberal arts college to a nearby state school with a strong education and science program. There, my Master's thesis focused on compounds to inhibit acute Staphylococcus aureus infections in human embryonic kidney cells. I then fully transitioned into education with a dissertation comparing hybrid teaching methods across various classrooms.


My research at UT has focused on examining the anxiety experience of students in the introductory Biology sequence. We have measured and compared anxiety levels across multiple classrooms and instructors; social, test, communication, and overall anxiety have all been measured, and we are now transitioning into measuring mediating factors that affect the student anxiety experience. These can include instructor behaviors such as non-verbal immediacy and the use of autonomy-supportive practices, or student factors such as their ability to forgive themselves (self-compassion). Using regression analysis to model the impacts of these factors on the student anxiety experience, we hope to delineate the most salient factors controlling student anxiety as well as the characteristics of vulnerable populations of students.

Professional Service

Courses taught
Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIOL 160, majors)
Introduction to Biology I (BIOL 101, non-majors)
Other service
Search Committee: Assistant Director of Biology Teaching and Learning, UTK, 2016
International Journal of STEM Education -- reviewer, 2018 - present


Brigati, JR, Schussler EE, and England BJ. It’s not just for points: teacher justifications and student perceptions about active learning. JCST, in revision.

England BJ, Brigati JR, and Schussler EE. Student anxiety impacts performance and persistence in introductory Biology courses. CBE-LSE, in revision.

Van Nuland ME, Chen M, and England BJ. (2018). Bringing plants and soils to life through a simple role-playing activity. American Biology Teacher, in press.

England BJ, Brigati JR, and Schussler EE. (2017). Student anxiety in introductory biology classrooms: Perceptions about active learning and persistence in the major. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0182506.