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Dr. John W. Ferner
Professor Emeritus, Biology

Phone: 859-344-3371

Professor Ferner has taught over twenty-five different courses at five institutions over his career, most focusing on some aspect of vertebrate biology. He particularly enjoys hands-on learning experiences in the field and has taken students from Florida to Colorado and Kenya to Mexico. He finds creating small research opportunities for students extremely rewarding and has jointly published articles and notes with over twenty of his students. Perhaps Professor Ferner’s most rewarding teaching was done as a Fulbright Scholar in Sierra Leone at Njala University College. Here students rose to the challenge of no electricity and running water with renewed enthusiasm every day, made their own equipment and brought in animals they had caught in the field for laboratory exercises that day!
While at Thomas More, Professor Ferner has served two terms as Department Chairperson and one term as chair of the Division of Natural Sciences. In addition he was Director of the TMC Aquatic Biology Field Station and currently volunteers as Adjunct Curator of Herpetology with the Cincinnati Museum Center.
During the 1990’s, Professor Ferner participated in three expeditions to the Philippines with the Cincinnati Museum Center and National Museum of the Philippines. This research resulted in his publishing a description of a new genus of lizard and three additional species of reptiles with his colleagues. More recently, Ferner has collaborated with conservationists in Malaysian Borneo in an attempt to preserve biodiversity in the conservation areas within planted acacia trees plantations. He plans to continue this work in Indonesian Borneo in the summer of 2009.

Much of Professor Ferner’s local field work with students involves field surveys of amphibian and reptile populations in restored wetland habitats. His teaching of introductory Environmental Science for both major and non-majors follows up on these projects by visiting many of these sites to view real world examples of science in action.


B.A., College of Wooster, Wooster, OH Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder, CO