Dr. Hal Reed
Professor of Biology
Dr. Hal Reed loves the study of insects. It is first "God, my wife, my children, then bugs," he says. This is evident by the pictures of butterflies, wasps and other insects on the wall of his office. Dr. Reed has had 35 years of experience as professor of biology, teaching a wide variety of biology and entomology courses. He is a broadly trained entomologist and biologist with emphasis in behavior and ecology.
Indeed, he has a long history of studying insect behavior especially focusing on social wasps. He has investigated various aspects of the social behavior of wasps such as colony interactions, mating behavior, and foraging activities. Dr. Reed has applied this research to developing chemical baits and traps in order to reduce populations of pestiferous stinging wasps. He has taken two sabbaticals, supported with grant monies, to study wasp behavior and ecology in two different USDA/ARS labs, one in Florida and the other in Washington State. He has been a speaker here and abroad through presentations at scientific meetings, seminars, workshops, consultations and publications. As principal investigator, his research on "Trapping social wasps in the Galapagos Islands and Neotropics" was rewarded by the National Geographic Society in 2000-01. He has conducted wasp work in Guatemala, Ecuador, and even atop the space shuttle towers in Florida. He is currently working on the 3rd edition of his book chapter: Ants, Bees and Wasps (Hymenoptera) for a Medical and Veterinary Entomology textbook.
Dr. Reed also has a wide variety of research interests in the disciplines of chemical ecology, conservation biology, medical parasitology, and wetland and stream water quality assessment. This work has led to such diverse publications as biological control using wasp parasitoids, assessing wetlands using vegetation surveys, and the role of host fruit and pheromones in attracting pest fruit flies. His research efforts has been recognized by the receiving the ORU Scholar of the Year award twice (1986-87; 1992-1993).
He sees his teaching at ORU as an opportunity where he could integrate faith and science with his love of Creation in a Christian university. He says his approach would be more stifled in a secular university. "I saw this as an opportunity to pass that passion on to others freely." Indeed, he challenges his students in the science and faith issues such as creation-evolution and Biblical environmental stewardship. His latest sabbatical involved writing a book “How to Think about Evolution and Scripture” that he is seeking a publisher. However, Dr. Reed considers the Biblical mandate to care for the Creation more critically important than knowing the specifics of how God create this amazing world. This perspective has led to him teaching conservation biology at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies (http://ausable.org/) for several summers. He serves as the ORU faculty representative for this Institute that provides college courses for students from ORU and a wide variety of other Christian colleges. He challenges his students to a high standard of academic excellence and does his best to inculcate his students with an enthusiasm to learn about the wonders of the biological creation. Dr. Reed has taught a wide variety of courses including Environmental Science, Introductory Biology II, Developmental Biology, Medical Parasitology, and junior and senior Research courses. He has been awarded the Outstanding Faculty of the Biology and Chemistry department twice (2005-6; 2016-17). Dr. Reed served as the chair of the Biology Department for 16 years (1996-2012) and now functions as the pre-health professions advisor along with Chemistry Professor, Dr. Lois Ablin. Dr. Reed considers it a privilege to instruct, guide, assist, and mentor the pre-medical students along their path to become medical professionals.
When asked about hobbies, Reed says "we raised four children; I don't have time for hobbies!" But he always liked hiking, biking and basketball. "But," he added, "field trips in natural areas are what I love the most--getting out in God's field and doing field work." He believes hands-on, experiential learning in the field is the best for students to enjoy their education and to retain these experiences for the long term.
Dr. Reed was born and raised in Fresno, California. "We camped almost every summer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This planted a love for nature. Dad was a journalist, so we moved around a lot. San Francisco was where I started high school, but I finished in Dallas. When I visited ORU, I knew I wanted to come here. I met my future wife here. I was happily married 27 years to Nancy Harris Reed (ORU '77) and we have 4 wonderful children. Sadly, she passed away of cancer in 2004. Since then, I am extremely blessed to have met and married a most wonderful woman, Mary Christian (ORU '89).
"You are to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind," Dr. Reed says. "The Spirit inspires my mind for thinking, and then the Lord uses me to inspire others. The biggest thing in my life is God's grace and peace."