Sara Wyse

Job Titles

  • Professor of Biological Sciences
    Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
    Environmental Studies College of Arts and Sciences


Professor of Biological Sciences College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Development Coordinator

Started at Bethel



  • Bethel University - B.A. in Biology and Life Science Education, 5-12, 2005
  • Michigan State University - Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior, 2010

Courses Taught

  • BIO128/128D - Integrative Biology: Energy, Metabolism and Biodiversity
  • BIO126/127 - Integrative Biology and Global Health
  • Bio380/383 - Environmental Plant Biology
  • BIO399 - Introduction to Research
  • GES326K - Economic Botany


  • Connecting Undergraduate Biology through Systems and Systems Thinking (NSF DRL 2012438). 2020-Present.

  • From the learner's perspective: Unpacking the why and how of model-based learning about biological systems (NSF DRL 1420081). 2014-2019.

  • Bethel University Excellence in Teaching Award. 2015.

  • Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction, Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 2012.

  • Simplifying Complexity: Analyzing Students’ Models of Biological Systems (NSF DRL 0910278). 2008-2011.


Schwanberg, S, T Burgau, M White, J Ronken, D Holman, H(A) Hong, A Carrington, M Sime, J Lara, M Longton, M Nelson, H Thomas, P Schmidt, L Johnson, SA Wyse. 2023. Overnight warming negatively impacts growth and reproduction in Brassica rapa. BIOS, 94(2):57-64.

Momsen, JL, E Bray Speth, SA Wyse TM Long. 2022. Using systems and systems thinking to unify biology education. CBE-Life Science Education 21(2):1-11

Wyse, SA, KJ Wilson, JL Momsen, E Bray Speth and TM Long. 2019. Modeling in the classroom: Making relationships and systems visible – Instructor Checklist & Evidence-based Teaching Guide. CBE-Life Science Education.

Wyse, SA and PAG Soneral. 2018. Is this class hard? Defining and analyzing academic rigor from a learners perspective. CBE-Life Science Education 17(4):1-14.

Teese, B, K Stein, CW Hoyt, NC Lindquist, SA Wyse. 2018. Web-based interactive video activities for undergraduate advanced laboratories. In Sokolowska and Michelini (Eds) The Role of Laboratory Work in Improving Physics Teaching and Learning, pg. 159-167. Springer: AG.

Soneral, PAG, SA Wyse. 2017. A SCALE-UP mock up: Comparison of student learning gains in high- and low-tech active learning environments. CBE-Life Science Education 16(1):1-15.

Soneral, PAG, SA Wyse and T Shaw. 2016. Making meaning: A qualitative inquiry into undergraduate meta-emotional and sociocognitive development during cadaver dissection. FASEB Journal 30:569-1 supplement.

Soneral, PAG, SA Wyse. 2015. Is this class hard? Student perception of academic rigor in active-learning courses. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 16(1):105-122.

Soneral, PG., SA Wyse. 2015. Your tax dollars at work: A mock grant writing experience centered on science process skills. CourseSource.

Wyse, SA. 2014. Does it pose a threat: Investigating the impact of Bt corn on monarch butterflies? CourseSource.

Wyse, SA. 2014. The 4-minute summary: Helping students recall, recap, explain the big picture and more! CourseSource.

Wyse, SA, TM Long, and D Ebert-May. 2014. TA professional development in biology: Designed for and driven by multidimensional data. CBE-Life Science Education 13(2):212-223

Long, TM, J Dauer, KM Kostelnik, JL Momsen, SA Wyse, E Bray Speth and D Ebert-May. 2014. Fostering ecoliteracy through model-based instruction. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(2):138-139.

Long, TM, SA Wyse. 2012. A season for inquiry: Investigating phenology in local campus trees. Science (335):932-933. Press Release.

Long, T, S Martin, J Pierce, T Robinson, K Schmitt, M Thomas, and SA Wyse. 2012. Campus trees: A study of local phenology. Online supplement to: Long, T, and SA. Wyse. 2012. A season for inquiry: Investigating phenology in local campus trees. Science, 335(6071), 932–933. doi:10.1126/science.1213528.

Bray Speth, E, JL Momsen, GA Moyerbrailean, D Ebert-May, TM Long, SA Wyse, and D Linton. 2010. 1, 2, 3, 4: Infusing quantitative literacy into introductory biology. CBE–Life Science Education (9): 323-332.

Momsen, JL, TM Long, SA Wyse, and D Ebert-May. 2010. Just the facts? Introductory undergraduate biology courses focus on low-level cognitive processes. CBE – Life Science Education (9): 435-440.

*Bethel students in italics


Marchan, V., SA Wyse, and BJ Winters. 2023. Alterations in C:N ratio to understand plant metabolic pathways in response to pressure from goat grazing in the invasive species: Rhamnus cathartica. Poster presentation. 89th meeting of the MN Academy of Science & 35th Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium. April 26, 2023. *Judges Choice Award Winner*

Wyse, SA and S. Bennett. 2023. Teaching what you love: Redesigning your course to meet the new science standards. Southwest West Central Cooperative Workshop. January 2023. 

Wyse, SA, S. Bennett, J Momsen, T Long. 2022. Redesigning your course using systems thinking: Part 1 & Part 2 (Sept. 2022). National Institute on Scientific Teaching. FALCoN Friday.

Wyse, SA, and S. Bennett. 2022. Redesigning your course to build systems thinking skills. Workshop presented at the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research. SABER 2022.   

Wyse, SA and S Bennett. 2021. Teaching what you love: Redesigning your biology unit to meet the MN Science Standards. Minnesota Science Teachers Association Conference. Nov. 2021.  

Wyse, SA. Invited Keynote Speaker for Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Inaugural Alumni Conference. 2021.

Ronken, J, and SA Wyse. 2021. Effects of goat grazing intended for Rhamnus cathartica on surrounding forbs and native woody plant species on Bethel University’s campus. Oral presentation. 87th meeting of the MN Academy of Science & 33rd Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium. April 24, 2021.

Bennett, S., Bray Speth, E., Momsen, JL, and Wyse, SA. 2019. Using Conceptual Models to Build Connections in Biology. Workshop presented at the annual conference of the National Association of Biology Teachers, Chicago, IL. November, 2019.

Salsberg, A, and SA Wyse. 2019. Cooperative game play used as a means to teach and develop teamwork skills in the biological sciences. Round Table Presentation. SABER 2019. Minneapolis, MN. July 26-28, 2019.

Momsen, JL, SA Wyse. 2018. Measuring students’ systems thinking skills using model architecture. SABER 2018. Minneapolis, MN. July 27-29, 2018.

Bajema, A, L Stein, & SA Wyse. 2017. Complexity and Correctness of Modeling Systems and Their Relationship to Learner Characteristics. SABER 2017. Minneapolis, MN. July 21-23, 2017.

Momsen, JL, M Esperum, B Munson & SA Wyse. 2017. Beyond the model: Assessing systems thinking in undergraduate biology. SABER 2017. Minneapolis, MN. July 21-23, 2017.

Momsen, JL, E Bray Speth, C Trujillo, SA Wyse & TM Long. 2017. Unpacking how and why conceptual (system) models promote learning in biology. Transforming Research in Undergraduate STEM Education (TRUSE). July 5 – 9, 2017. Minneapolis, MN.

Bray Speth, E, A Reinagel, SA Wyse, K Blom. 2017. Modeling in Undergraduate Biology: How well do student models align with their written explanations? NARST. San Antonio, TX, April 22-25, 2017.

Momsen, JL, SA Wyse. 2017. Modeling in undergraduate biology: How do students use models of biological systems to make predictions? NARST. San Antonio, TX, April 22-25, 2017.

Trujillo, CM, S Bennett, H Aherrera, A Gotwals, K Blom, A Sebesta, A Reinagel, E Bray Speth, JL Momsen, SA Wyse and TM Long. 2017. Modeling in Undergraduate Biology: Unpacking students’ representations of systems. Combined paper session (5 papers) at NARST in San Antonio, TX, April 22-25, 2017.

Teese, R, K Stein, C Hoyt, N Lindquist, SA Wyse. 2016. Web-based interactive video activities for undergraduate advanced laboratories. Proceedings of the GIREP Conference (International Research Group on Physics Teaching) in Krakow, Poland, August 2016.

Momsen, JL, SA Wyse, B Munson, TM Long. 2016. Using student-generated concept models to explore content knowledge and systems thinking. Modeling and Model-Based Reasoning in STEM Conference. West Lafayette, IN. August 2016.

Munson, B, PG Soneral, SA Wyse and T Shaw. 2016. Student processing and understanding of human cadaver dissection on the levels of cognitive, social and emotional development. Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) 6th Annual Meeting: Poster. Minneapolis, MN. July 2016.

Blom, K, SA Wyse, JL Momsen. 2016. Similarity and consistency of language used between student conceptual models and written explanations. Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) 6th Annual Meeting: Roundtable. Minneapolis, MN. July 2016.

Momsen, JL, E Bray Speth, J Dees, C Trujilo, SA Wyse, TM Long. 2015. Developing a systems thinking framework for undergraduate biology education. Ecological Society of America 100th Annual Meeting: Poster. Baltimore, MD. August 2015.

Zinnecker, K, SA Wyse, PG Soneral. 2015. When do I learn the most? A qualitative analysis of student perception of the internal and external conditions to maximize learning. Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) 5th Annual Meeting: Poster. Minneapolis, MN. July 2015.

Cumming, L. and SA Wyse. 2013. Effects of environmental education on college students’ environmental knowledge, concern for the environment and willingness to participate in restorative efforts. Ecological Society of America, 98th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. August 2013.

Webster, B. and SA Wyse. 2013. Who’s in my group? Effects of group selection on student learning. Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) 3rd Annual Meeting: Poster Presentation. Minneapolis, MN. July 2013.

*Bethel students in italics

Professional Organizations, Committees, and Boards

Ecological Society of America

Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research

Research interests

Dr. Wyse's research interests center around biological complexity and how students make sense of complex systems through the development of systems thinking skills. She's curious to discover more about the ecology of the classroom and what makes biology more accessible and exciting to learners. In the field, she wonders how repeated grazing by goats influences invasive buckthorn populations.