Jeffrey M. Osborn is Dean of the School of Science and Professor of Biology at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Prior to moving to TCNJ in 2006, he spent 15 years at Truman State University in Missouri, where he served as Professor and Chair of Biology, Director of the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Talent Expansion Program, and Chair of the University-wide Undergraduate Research Committee. He was a recipient of the Walker and Doris Allen Fellowship for Faculty Excellence, Truman’s highest award for recognizing outstanding faculty members.
Dr. Osborn received a B.S., with honors, from Texas State University–San Marcos, where he majored in Biology. While pursuing the baccalaureate degree, he engaged in undergraduate research and served as an Undergraduate Laboratory Instructor. He remained at Texas State University to complete an M.S. in Botany and then earned a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Ohio State University.
Dr. Osborn’s teaching has covered a broad range of areas, including introductory-level biology and botany courses. He has also taught numerous upper-level classes and seminars; some of these include Comparative Plant Morphology, Paleobotany, Plant Anatomy, and several Microscopy-based courses. In addition, he has taught an interdisciplinary course titled Understanding Biology through Art. He employs an array of pedagogical methods, directly incorporates original research projects into his courses, and has contributed to curricular reform efforts both at his own institutions and at the national level.
Dr. Osborn is a teacher-scholar; he and his students conduct research in the broad area of plant evolutionary biology, studying both fossil and living plants. The majority of their work is phylogenetically oriented and considers evolutionary relationships among seed plants based principally on the study of pollen development and morphology. He is also interested in pollination biology, including the evolution of pollination mechanisms and the functional role that pollen plays in particular syndromes.
Dr. Osborn has received over $6.1 million in funding as a principal investigator and co-principal investigator. His efforts have been supported by the National Science Foundation, J. William Fulbright Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Petroleum Research Fund–American Chemical Society, Botanical Society of America, International Water Lily and Water Gardening Society, as well as intramural grants. Dr. Osborn has mentored numerous undergraduate student collaborators, and he has authored many research articles, book chapters, book reviews and abstracts. He has received the Centennial Award from the Botanical Society of America, the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi, and the Antarctica Service Medal of the United States of America from the National Science Foundation.
Professor Osborn has spent research leaves from his home institutions at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, the University of Alberta, the University of Kansas, and conducting fieldwork in Antarctica.
Dr. Osborn currently serves as Immediate Past-President of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), a national professional organization of individual (3,300) and institutional (600) members representing all disciplines and over 900 colleges and universities of all types, as well as a principal investigator on CUR’s National Science Foundation-funded national workshop dissemination project. He also currently serves as an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Botany and on the External Advisory Board of the State of Oklahoma’s IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Program, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Osborn recently served two consecutive terms as Program Director and member of the Executive Board of the Botanical Society of America. As the Botanical Society of America’s Program Director, he coordinated and planned the scientific and educational program at the annual ‘Botany’ conference, which draws approximately 1,000 registrants each year. He has also recently served on the Peer Review Committee for the Council for International Exchange of Scholars–Fulbright Senior Scholar Program. He is a Past-President of the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi and is a member of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL), a national alliance focused on strengthening the nation’s undergraduate science and mathematics community.