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Member Profile

W. Midden (Bob Midden)


  • Higher Ed: Science, Higher Ed: Education, Higher Ed: Administrator, Researcher 


W. Robert Midden, a faculty member in the BGSU Chemistry Department, earned a PhD in biochemistry from the Ohio State University in 1978, and began his career in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University where he helped start a new PhD program in Environmental Chemistry. He came to BGSU in 1987 to join a team building the new PhD program in photochemical sciences and establishing BGSU as a national leader in photochemical sciences research. Since then his research interests have shifted from bioorganic photochemistry to finding ways to reform education at all levels. The recipient of more than $20 million in grants from federal and state agencies and private foundations, he has led multiple intercollegiate teams in efforts to improve K-12 as well as undergraduate and graduate instruction in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Since 2008, Dr. Midden has served as the Director of the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education (NWO) with the mission of advancing STEM education for people of all ages. NWO serves the 29 counties of the northwest quadrant of Ohio and involves partnerships with most of the higher education institutions, many K-12 school districts, as well as numerous businesses and non-profit organizations throughout the region. NWO provides a variety of services to the region including K-12 and college faculty professional development, hosting annual symposia and student STEM competitions, administering multiple STEM college student scholarship programs, fostering the development of a new Learning Sciences doctoral program, and sponsoring other events aimed at promoting interest and success in STEM disciplines.

In addition to his work as NWO Director, Dr. Midden leads a scientific research project investigating major issues threatening the environmental integrity and economic vitality of Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes, rivers, and streams. This project has involved more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students over the last five years and involves collaboration with several government agencies and scientists from throughout the region in addressing one of the most pressing environmental issues in Ohio.

As a founding member and later as director of the Chapman Community, the first comprehensive residential learning community at BGSU, Dr. Midden was a driving force in developing alternative learning experiences and actively engaging students with projects serving the surrounding communities. He spearheaded an initiative to integrate service learning into the undergraduate curriculum and to document the many ways in which faculty create such opportunities for their students. His current science education research interests arise, in part from his experiences in the Chapman Community where he explored the integration of citizen science research and service learning into undergraduate, general-education, science courses. 


watershed water quality chemical and bacteriological dynamics
citizen science research and service learning in undergraduate science courses and K-12 education
assessment of student academic achievement
science pedagogy
science curriculum 


Partin, M. L.; Haney, J. J.; Worch, E. A.; Underwood, E.; Nurnberger-Haag, J.; Scheuermann, A.; Midden, W. R. "Yes I Can: The Contributions of Motivation and Attitudes on Course Performance among Biology Non-majors." Journal of College Science Teaching 40: 86-95.

Bendinskas, K.G.; Harsh, A.; Wilson, R.M.; Midden, W.R.: "Sequence-Specific Photodamage of DNA by an Oligonucleotide-Dihydrodioxin Conjugate," Bioconjugate Chemistry, 9(5): 555-563 (1998).

Midden, W.R.: "Rounding Numbers: Why the "New System" Doesn't Work" J. Chem. Ed., 74(4): 405 (1997).

Midden, W.R.; Dahl, T.A.: "Biological Inactivation by Singlet Oxygen: Distinguishing O2 from 1.sigma.g O2" Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 1117: 216-222 (1992).