Jeffrey Scott Coker is Dean of the College, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Biology. He is passionate about ensuring that every Westminster student receives a liberal arts education of the highest quality.
Coker recently received the “Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education Award” from the National Society of Experiential Education. He has presented numerous teaching-related workshops for other universities and associations, and published widely on experiential learning and high-impact educational practices. Coker is the author of two books/manuals and more than 60 scholarly articles, posters, and other publications.
Coker previously served as director of the Elon Core Curriculum and professor of biology at Elon University in North Carolina. As director, Coker provided oversight for more than 120 faculty who taught core curriculum courses each year. He led the revision of First-Year Foundations courses, implemented an interdisciplinary capstone project requirement for all students, doubled the experiential learning requirement for all students, and created new advising materials. He also led the common reading program, developed intellectual events for all first-year students, and helped to create a new summer orientation program for incoming students.
As a biologist, Coker led the establishment of the Elon University Forest, a campus preserve for teaching and research. He has taught science at every level from middle school to the advanced graduate level, including a field biology course in Peru and a novel course called “Reinventing Life” for general student populations. Coker has also taught several interdisciplinary courses and helped to develop dozens of others. Educational materials he created for the American Society of Plant Biologists are widely used across the country.
After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Davidson College, Coker received a master of education degree in science education and a doctorate in plant biology from North Carolina State University where his dissertation was recognized with the Pollock Award. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa.
In his free time, Coker enjoys the arts, hiking, house restoration, sports, and scuba diving. He lives in New Wilmington with his wife, Beth, and their three sons.