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Gordon E. Uno, PhD

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Gordon E. Uno, Ph.D.

Professor of Plant Biology

136 or 151 George Lynn Cross Hall
770 Van Vleet Oval
Norman, OK 73019


B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1973
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1979



Research Areas:
Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Science Education 

Research Interests:
I was trained as a plant reproductive biologist studying plant-pollinator interactions, and my interests still lie there, however, I have always been concerned about the quality of science education and the level of scientific/biological literacy in the United States at both the pre-college and undergraduate levels. In regard to these latter interests, I am currently the PI on a large ($840,000), NSF-funded project, IGELS (Improvement of General Education Life Science courses), that started in October, 2021, and will investigate the impact, if any, of the AAAS document, Vision and Change, in non-majors biology courses across the country.  I also have funding from the NSF for a project with James Collins at Arizona State University to revise the “Liberal Art of Science” (AAAS, 1990), a document that argued for more science in the academic programs of all students to help improve science literacy in the U.S.  Additionally, I have received a Fulbright Specialist award to work with faculty in the Botany Department of the University of Pretoria in South Africa.  We are working to revise their biology/plant biology curriculum and develop projects related to faculty professional development there. 

The IGELS and Liberal Art of Science projects emerged from a previous Research Coordination Network for Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) grant called the Faculty Developers Network, which involved the interaction of specialists across the U.S. engaged in the preparation and support of faculty who teach biology.  Another current project is being coordinated with the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and emerged from my first RCN-UBE award (the Introductory Biology Project, IBP) several years ago.  The new NABT project is the Introductory Biology Task Force (IBTF), which brings together biology faculty from 2-year and 4-year institutions to work with AP Biology teachers to work on the same course---Introductory Biology.  We held an IBTF conference at the HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in 2020 which was funded by the NSF.  Another offshoot from the IBP was the first Gordon Research Conference on Undergraduate Biology Education Research in 2015.  A colleague, Susan Elrod, now Chancellor at Indiana University South Bend, and I proposed the GRC meeting, which was approved by the GRC Board and funded by the NSF, NIH, and the HHMI as well as the GRC itself.  A third GRC-UBER meeting was held last summer (2019), and this conference has now become part of the permanent portfolio of the GRC. 

For eight years, I worked with the College Board (CB) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to revise the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology course and develop the new AP Biology exams taken by 250,000 students per year, serving as Chair of that committee for six years from 2007-2015.  I continue to work with the Botanical Society of America (BSA) to develop inquiry-based instructional materials and to advance BSA educational programs.  I served as the President of the BSA in 2016-2017 (and on the BSA Board from 2015-2018).  I continue to investigate the barriers and issues related to increasing biological and scientific literacy among all college students, and between 2011-2020, I was a faculty mentor at the annual High-Impact Practices and Student Success Summer Institute sponsored by the AAC&U.  At the BSA and the STEM Conference of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) I have provided faculty professional development workshops and worked with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) on the “Evolution Across the Curriculum (EVAC)” project.  

Relevant Publications:

2020. Using COVID-19 to Reboot Biology Education

2016.  C. D. Eaton, D. Allen, L. J. Anderson, G. Bowser, M. A. Pauley, K.S. Williams, and G.E. Uno (corresponding author).  Summit of the Research Coordination Networks for Undergraduate Biology Education.  CBE-Life Sciences Education:  15.  Mr1, 1-6, Winter.

2013.  G. E. Uno, M.D. Sundberg, and C. A. Hemingway.  Inquiring About Plants:  a practical guide to engaging science practices.  Botanical Society of America.  Pp.  167.

2012. College Board. Advanced Placement Investigative Labs: an inquiry-based approach. Student and Teacher manuals. Editor (entire manuals) and Author.

2011. College Board. Advanced Placement Biology Curriculum Framework 2012- 2013. Member of Curriculum Development Committee (authoring committee).

2010. Uno, G. E., Handbook on Teaching Undergraduate Science Courses: a survival training manual. McGraw-Hill, Publishing Co., Dubuque, IA.

2009. Uno, Gordon E. Botanical literacy: what and how should students know about plants? American Journal of Botany 96 (10): 1-7.