Faculty Profile: Mike Bishop
A childhood interest in nature became a love of bird watching for Alma College lab instructor Mike Bishop.
“A few people have called my interest in birds obsessive,” he says. “I prefer passionate.”
Bishop has been teaching at Alma since 1998 and directs the Alma College Bird Observatory, located on the College's 200-acre ecological station.
“My area of research is avian ecology,” he says. “I am interested in the factors that influence bird populations at local and regional scales.”
He currently has projects investigating veery nesting territories, American kestrel winter territories and species use of vertical strata of forests.
Bishop discovered his love for teaching while working at nature centers and summer camps. After earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin, he taught science in public school before completing his master’s degree at Central Michigan University.
“I wanted to work professionally as a scientist, but I knew I would want to continue teaching after receiving my degree,” he says.
Bishop taught at various colleges before coming to Alma.
“I enjoy the intimate contact with students at Alma,” he says. “I get to know students in my capacity as teacher due to the small class sizes.”
He also teaches a spring term class that travels around observing bird migration paths, oversees the laboratory teaching assistants and is the advisor for Tri-Beta, the biology honors society.
“Working with students doing independent studies is probably the most rewarding because I get to see students develop an interest and passion for science,” he says.
“Through their own hands-on involvement they begin the path that takes many of them to grad school and beyond,” he says.
Bishop is married to Communication Professor Joanne Gilbert and enjoys spending time with his family and cycling.