William J. Hoese, Ph.D.

William Hoese, Ph.D.

2023 Outstanding Faculty Innovator for Student Success

William J. Hoese, Ph.D.

California State University, Fullerton
Professor, Biological Science

I allow students the freedom to learn, permission to fail, space to strive, opportunities to take risks and support to succeed. i use field experiences to take students out of their comfort zones, build community and encourage curiosity about the world around us."

Revered at Cal State Fullerton as “a creative, effective and rigorous classroom instructor who is universally loved, praised and admired,” Dr. William (Bill) Hoese has distinguished himself as an exceptional educator with a gift for inspiring students to delve into life science.

A 23-year veteran at CSUF, Dr. Hoese has been nationally recognized for his efforts to transform the way biology is taught, from a fact-driven course to one that engages students in active learning and critical thinking. As just one example, Dr. Hoese has introduced 300-plus lower-division biology students each semester to Southern California’s ecosystems with an overnight trip to the Mojave Desert where – away from city lights - many reported seeing stars for the first time. His approach led to “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education,” a movement spearheaded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science with support from the National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Hoese has also designed multiple programs that increase student success beyond his classroom. Responding to an identified need to introduce students to biology careers and research opportunities earlier in their CSUF careers, Dr. Hoese mobilized a team of faculty to provide mentoring and outreach through BURST, the Biology Undergraduate Research Training Program. Through the Freshman Summer Bridge Research Experience, Dr. Hoese led a team of faculty and students in providing research experiences for incoming biology majors during new-student orientation, a practice that has become a national model and which CSUF has expanded across two colleges. Dr. Hoese has also developed an intensive two-year program for biology majors, called the Southern California Ecosystems Research Program, or SCERP, which embeds biology students in independent grant-funded research.

In addition to securing grants for student programs, Dr. Hoese has been co-principal investigator or principal investigator on numerous extramural and intramural grants with colleagues examining the impact of teaching methods on student outcomes, including two National Science Foundation awards totaling more than $1.5 million. His impact is substantial and nationally recognized, as he has published four papers on student learning and has participated in and facilitated two National Academy of Science Institutes on Undergraduate Education in Biology.

Dr. Hoese holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in biology from Stanford and a Ph.D. in zoology from Duke University.