CSUS Faculty Spotlight: Rebecca Jordan

CSUS professor and chair person shares much of her professional inspiration comes from the colleagues and scholars here at MSU.


Rebecca Jordan         

Departmental Home:

Department of Community Sustainability


Professor and Chair

What year did you join MSU?: 


Educational Background: 

B.S.- Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Connecticut

M.S. and PhD- Organismal Biology (specializing in evolution and behavior), University of Massachusetts Amherst


Brookfield, CT    

Field of study or area of interest:

Behavioral biology and learning

Why did you choose to pursue your area of interest or field of study?

I started with an interest in animal behavior after watching the Voyage of the Mimi as a child. I was somewhat obsessed with dolphins and the sea. I am, however, terribly prone to sea sickness and moved to my favorite land mammal: humans.

What is one exciting thing you’re currently working on?

With other colleagues in CSUS and at other universities, I am studying model-based learning in the undergraduate classroom. In this way, we are having students generate pictures and concept maps to help them tie together ideas in the classroom.

What’s the best part about your job?

I love learning new things! I get to see cutting edge research in action and as department chair I get to share this research and advocate for CSUS faculty and students.

What is one of the most impactful things you’ve done as a scholar at MSU?

I’ve been able to work with instructors both within and outside of the department on how to create interactive tools for learning in the undergraduate classroom.

Who is an influential or inspiring person in your life or career?

I have many inspirations, so many of whom are within CSUS but if I had to pick one person I would say Diane Ebert-May, who is faculty in Plant Biology here at MSU. What inspires me and the commonality across the folks I find influential in my life is that they are true scholars. They are people who are great teachers, thoughtful academic researchers, and make meaningful connections to the broader community. They are all people who love learning and inspire my own aspirations in my career.

When you’re not working, what do you do?

When I'm not working I love to spend time outdoors, dance, and eat chocolate.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Leave the place better than you found it. I think that holds true in any situation and what I aspire to do personally and professionally. 

Do you have any advice for students?

My advice for students is fairly simple. Take a deep breath, go to class, show each other grace and plan ahead. Also this time can be stressful and challenging, give yourself a break when you need it!

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