Chad Heins

Chad Heins

Assistant Professor - Biology

Teaching Philosophy

I love teaching and I love learning.  More than anything I want my students to get excited about learning new things in biology.  Is there anything so fascinating as a living, breathing animal or plant?

I believe that students learn the most when they are challenged and I prefer to lead students to the answer rather than provide it directly.   In today’s world of internet searches, it is easy to find an answer but more important for students to be able to use answers to raise new questions.    My approach in the classroom and laboratory stresses the inseparable ideas of form and function.

Research Interests

The more I learn, the more I want to know. 

Cobb River Project

I am currently working with students and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to carry out biological inventories of Cobb River and Perch Waterfowl Production Areas.  That project gives me the opportunity to learn about inventory methods as well as to identify organisms ranging from plants and fungi to birds and aquatic macroinvertebrates. Currently we are working on expanding our work to include over 3,000 acres of W.P.As in the area.

Spiders of Minnesota

Having a list of expected species really helps with biological inventory work.  When no such list could be found for spiders in Minnesota, I began assembling such a list using literature records and collecting and identifying spiders on my own.  It has been awesome to learn how to dissect and identify spiders and students have been able to get involved and contribute new county and state records along the way.  The list is at 413 species and growing!  

Bethany Hawkwatch

This project involves raptor-loving students from all the different majors at Bethany.  Every fall the students and I count southbound raptors like hawks, eagles, and vultures which utilize the Minnesota River Valley during fall migration.  Our data are submitted to Hawkcount which is a clearinghouse for data from across the country and are utilized to create the Raptor Population Index for North America.


I’ve been teaching at Bethany since January of 2000.  My wife and I have four children under the age of 9 which keep us plenty busy at home.  We love camping with the family and exploring Minnesota State Parks and National Parks across the country.

In my free time I can normally be found outdoors playing with my kids, taking pictures, or birdwatching.