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Carol A. Hurney, Ph.D.
Contact Info

Courses Taught

GBIO 103 - Contemporary Biology
BIO 114 - Organisms Laboratory


B.A. - University of Rochester
Ph.D. - University of Virginia

Curriculum Vitae


Carol Hurney is the Executive Director of the Center for Faculty Innovation and a Professor in the Department of Biology.  Carol teaches general education courses as well as the introductory lab class for biology majors.  Her research interests include learner-centered teaching, salamander tail development, and the impact of faculty development on academic culture.  Recently, Carol left the lecturn and restructured her GenEd biology class to encourage students to answer their own biological questions using creative digital posts that support a constructivist approach to learning (  She is also embarking on new scholarly projects that include a book on effective forms of faculty development and a biology research project to analyze all of the genes involved in adult tail development in salamanders.   And yes, you will still find her out biking around the beautiful Shenandoah Valley or cooking a fabulous meal with her spouse in their spectacular kitchen in Staunton.

Research Interests

Salamander Tail Development
Carol's research on the molecular aspects of segment formation in salamanders is a collaborative project with Sharon Babcock (JMU). Carol's lab is interested in analyzing the formation of embryonic and post-embryonic tail segments in Hemidactylium scutatum. Axial elongation in the four-toed salamander, H. scutatum occurs throughout larval, juvenile and adult life history stages via the development and growth of additional caudal (tail) segments. The morphogenetic problems that need to be solved to add caudal segments to post-embryonic vertebrate tails have never been addressed. Insights into the underlying mechanisms for the continual addition of caudal segments throughout larval, juvenile, and adult stages may be rooted in processes that direct embryonic tail development. Their initial goals are to develop a normal table of embryonic development for H. scutatum, characterize embryonic segmentation by visualizing somites, and determine the molecular pathways involved in caudal segment formation throughout all life history stages.

Teaching Strategies and Emerging Technologies
Another area of Carol's scholarly endeavors focuses on assessing the efficacy of classroom learning environments. She has investigated the influence of learner-centered teaching in her non-majors biology course. She allows students in this course to select course topics, determine the value of course assignments, and determine which in-class strategies (clickers, active learning, etc) have the most impact on their learning.

Curriculum Design & Programmatic Assessment
To support departmental curriculum reform efforts, Carol expanded her educational research efforts to encompass the design and assessment of the biology majors-level curriculum. Her work in this area supported the development of the Bio 114 course and laboratory materials. She also helped design an assessment strategy to explore the educational impact of the biology curriculum and to disseminate products of our curriculum reform efforts.

Select Publications

Hurney CA, Brown, JW, Griscom, HP, Kancler, E, Wigtil, CJ and Sundre, DL. July 2011. Closing the Loop: Involving Faculty in the Assessment of Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning Skills of Biology Majors. Journal of College Science Teaching.

Seifert, K, Hurney, CA, Wigtil, CJ, and Sundre, DL. 2009. Using the Academic Skills Inventory (ASI) to Assess the Biology Major. Assessment Update, Volume 21, Number 3.

Hurney, CA, Babcock SK and Pesce, A. 2009. Organisms. A Laboratory Manual for Bio 114 - 8th Edition. Hayden McNeil Custom Publishing. 2009 (210 pages).

Monroe, J.D. and C.A. Hurney. 2002 CCLI and curriculum change in biology. CUR Quarterly. 22: 122-125.

Goodwin, EB, Hofstra, K, Hurney, CA, Mango, S, and Kimble, J. 1997. A genetic pathway for regulation of tra-2 translation. Genes and Development, 124: 749-758.


  • November 2014

    Dr. Carol A. Hurney (Professor, Biology; Director, Center for Faculty Innovation), Nancy L. Harris (Lecturer, Computer Science), Dr. Samantha C. Bates Prins (Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics) and Dr. Susan E. Kruck (Professor, Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics) published the article, “The Impact of a Learner-Centered, Mid-Semester Course Evaluation on Students,” in The Journal of Faculty Development. The article explores the impact of a learner-centered, mid-semester course evaluation process on student perceptions of dimensions of teaching that promote effective learning.