Alix Fink
Dean of Cormier Honors College

Phone (434) 395-2576
Department Honors Program
Office Stevens 104

Alix Dowling Fink is the Wilma Register Sharp and Marc Boyd Sharp Dean of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars and a Professor of Biology.  She is involved in collaborative interdisciplinary projects across the university, working with faculty in the arts and sciences and partners in student affairs.  With Dr. Michelle Parry in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, she developed a SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) course model for an interdisciplinary, topic-driven general education science course known as The Power of Water (POW).  A second new general education course, this one a capstone experience for the academic core, has grown from Longwood’s campus SENCER project.  Exploring Public Issues through Writing is a transdisciplinary collaboration focused on the key challenges of the stewardship of our public lands, with particular emphasis on Yellowstone National Park. 

Alix serves as a Leadership Fellow for SENCER and PULSE (Partnership in Undergraduate Life Sciences Education).  She tries to continue a student-centered research program in vertebrate ecology, focused specifically on the effects of disturbance on habitat use and demography of early successional birds and a range of bat species.  With increasing administrative responsibilities, though, her scholarship has shifted from the field work she loves to science education, at the institutional level through a number of projects focused on transformational learning and student success and at the national level through an NSF-funded project aimed at broadening the implementation of the recommendations of the AAAS’ Vision and Change report. 

In her free time, she enjoys an old farmhouse, a weedy garden, a pack of mutt dogs, and one bird-loving husband.

Peer-reviewed publications

Donnelly, S. M., A. D. Dowling Fink, M. L. Fink, M. L. Lunsford, M. C. Rhoten, and K. N. Scheitlin.  2012.  Full immersion: the Chesapeake Bay watershed as an environment for learning science in a civic context. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal 4(2):34-41.  Web access:

Cole, N. S., and A. D. Dowling Fink.  2010.  Complex citizenship:  framing an integrative pedagogical approach to prepare 21st century Citizen Leaders.  Pages 181-190 in Stewardship of Public Lands:  A Handbook for Educators.  American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Washington, DC

Dowling Fink, A. D., and N. S. Cole.  2010.  Returning wolves and removing mountains:  building on the Yellowstone case to create a new approach to civic education.  Pages 78-88 in Stewardship of Public Lands: A Handbook for Educators.  American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Washington, DC

Lunsford, M. L., and A. D. Dowling Fink.  2010.  Water taste test data.  Journal of Statistics Education 18(2).  Web access:

Dowling Fink, A. D., and M. L. Lunsford.  2009.  Bridging the divides:  using a collaborative honors research experience to link academic learning to civic issues.  Honors in Practice 5:97-109.  Web access:

Dearborn, D. C., L. S. MacDade, S. K. Robinson, A. D. Dowling Fink, and M. L. Fink.  2009.  Offspring development mode and the evolution of brood parasitism.  Behavioral Ecology 20(3):517-524

Fink, A. D., F. R. Thompson, III, and A. A. Tudor.  2006.  Songbird use of regenerating forest, glade, and edge habitat types.  Journal of Wildlife Management 70(1):180-188.  Web access:

Woodward, A. A., A. D. Fink, and F. R. Thompson, III.  2001.  Edge effects and ecological traps:  effects on shrubland birds in Missouri.  Journal of Wildlife Management 65(4):668-675.  Web access:

Contributions to the arts

Cushman, K. C., and A. D. Dowling Fink.  Riveting inferences:  art + science collaboration.  Vespine Gallery and Studios, Chicago, IL, February 8-23, 2008.  Web access:

Cushman, K. C., and A. D. Dowling Fink.  Riveting inferences:  art + science collaboration.  Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, Farmville, VA, July 1 - September 6, 2008.  Web access:

Federal grants

Dowling Fink, A. D. (PI), N. Jacob (co-PI), M. I. Kelrick (co-PI), and C. G. Reiness (co-PI).  PULSE Ambassadors - creating a national leadership network to accelerate departmental transformation towards Vision and Change.  Research Coordination Networks – Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN UBE) Program, Award #1624182, $499,978.  2016-2021

Parry, M. L. (PI), W. A. Znosko (co-PI), and A. D. Dowling Fink (co-PI).  The LIFE STEM Program:  an interdisciplinary approach to foster the next generation of STEM professionals.  Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program, Award #1564879, $649,932.  2016-2021

Dowling Fink, A. D. (PI), N. Jacob (co-PI), and D. J. Marcey (co-PI).  A vision for change:  using ATP (Ambassador Training Program) to energize departmental transformation.  Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) Program, Award #1355771, $287,186.  2013-2015 (with no-cost extension through 2016)

Other contributions

Fink, A. D., and M. L. Parry.  2007.  The Power of Water.  The Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) 2007 Course Model Series.  Web access:

Dowling Fink, A. D.  2001.  Prothonotary Warbler.  The Texas Breeding Bird Atlas.  Texas A&M University System, College Station and Corpus Christi, TX

Ryan, M. R., M. L. Fink, and A. D. Dowling.  1997.  Prairie conservation in the Great Plains.  Prairie Naturalist 29(1):67-68