James Engman

Professor of Biology, Biology Department Chair

Students should think about their four years of undergraduate study as being the hardest job they will ever have. Don't just come to class, take advantage of those things that take place outside of the classroom and it will pay you back for the rest of your life.

Teaching is an adventure for James Engman. Each summer, the biology professor takes groups of students out of the country to perform research for marine conservation and tour exotic locations. Most recently, they visited Peru, Ecuador, and Belize. “I have been doing this since 1999 and it is certainly the best part of my job,” Engman said.

“Many of these students have never been out of Arkansas or their home state. To take them to the rainforest or cloud forest of Panama, or to the Galapagos Islands, that’s as good as it gets.”

Closer to home, Engman likes to explore Arkansas caves with his students, and he emphasizes hands-on learning at Henderson’s biology field station.

Sharing the success stories of Henderson’s biology department is a priority for Engman, and there are plenty of stories to tell.

“We can point to a whole line of incredibly successful students who have gone on to world class graduate programs and fantastic jobs, not to mention those who have done amazing research and have been recognized nationally and internationally,” he said.

“Students come to college because they have a dream of what they want to do, what they want to be, and where they want to go,” Engman said. “Our students can compete with anybody from anywhere, and I believe that once potential students see that, it’s very easy for them to see themselves here at Henderson.”  

Engman discovered his love for teaching while he was a graduate student. “I did some teaching, and I loved it. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

He challenges his students to think. “Give them some information, but then ask a hard question. Don’t be afraid to wait a while for them to come up with an answer,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t get it, but it’s the thinking that really counts.”


Contact Info:

Degree and School:
PhD from the University of Cincinnati

Coral reefs
Cave microbes

I've been at Henderson since: