Nick Balster

Professor, Soil Science; Faculty Co-Director, MTLE

Dr. Nick Balster is a Professor in the Department of Soil Science and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His lab, “Collaborations in Ecosystem Science and Environmental Education”, is constantly seeking innovative ways to combine research, teaching, and outreach both in education and the physical sciences. Nick co-founded MTLE and is grateful to serve the teaching community here at UW-Madison

In 2011, Dr. Balster and Dr. Janet Batzli (Associate Director, Biocore) co-founded Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence. Dr. Balster currently serves its Faculty Co-Director. As a longtime advocate of teaching and learning in higher education, Dr. Balster has built an award-winning teaching program accomplished at every level from the classroom to his contributions to the SoTL both here and abroad, all the while maintaining a robust research program in his discipline (he is the current chair of the Environmental Sciences Major). He collaborates across campus to develop educational innovations that never lose sight of the learner. He maintains an average teaching load of four classes using a variety of innovative instructional modalities that are both learner-centered and anchored in assessments aligned to measurable learning outcomes. He is a proud member and past Chair of the UW Teaching Academy, an instructor in the Delta Program, founding member of the Collaborative for Advancing Learning and Teaching in the VPTL office, and active in many educational initiatives both on campus and nationally.

Nick loves spending time with family, exploring the outdoors, cooking, building things, catching a win at Wrigley Park (a chance event he knows), and anything history or science! Oh, and if you have a Star Wars collectible, see Nick! For Nick’s full bio, click here.

Nick's latest SoTL research

Spero, M., Bajcz, A.W., and Balster, N.J. 2019. Effects of childhood setting and interaction with nature on academic performance in introductory college-level courses in the environmental sciences. Environmental Education Research 25:3, 422-442.

(Read a piece published in GROW Magazine on the article above).

Schmid, M., Bajcz, A.W., and N.J. Balster. 2019. Using a multifaceted assessment to evaluate a novel faculty development program in teaching at a research-intensive university. Teacher Development. (in review).

Boswell, E.P., Balster, N.J., Bajcz, A., Thompson, A.M. 2019. Soil aggregation returns to a setpoint despite seasonal response to snow manipulation. Geoderma 357: 1-10.