Cissy J. Ballen
Department of Biological Sciences
Associate Professor

Office: 348 Funchess Hall

Address: 101 Life Sciences Bldg.
Auburn University, AL 36849

Fax: (334) 844-1645



Postdoctoral Associate - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN
Postdoctoral Associate - Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Ph.D. - University of Sydney, Australia
B.Sc. - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN

Research and Teaching Interests

Research in the Ballen lab addresses the role of higher education in creating just and equitable communities – we do this through investigations that reveal causes and consequences of gaps in science literacy, and how educators can design their courses to minimize barriers to success. By developing an integrated experimental and theoretical research program we explore how classroom and social influences shape student learning, personal and professional development, and educational and career trajectories.

Selected Publications

  1. Ballen, C.J., S.M. Aguillon, R. Brunelli, A.G.Drake, D. Wassenburg, S.L. Weiss, K.R. Zamudio, S. Cotner.  2018. Do small classes reduce performance gaps in STEM? Bioscience. (in press).

  2. Ballen, C.J., K.R. Zamudio. 2018. Active learning reduces misconceptions about evolution and promotes inclusivity in large classrooms. In Golding, J., K. Kern, and C. Rawn (Eds.), Strategies for Teaching Large Classes Effectively in Higher Education. Cognella Publishing.

  3. Ballen, C.J., S.T. Thompson, J.E. Blum, N.P. Newstrom, S. Cotner. 2018. Discovery and broad relevance may be insignificant components of course-based undergraduate research experiences for non-biology majors. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. 19:1-9.

  4. Sullivan, L.L.*, J. Ballen*, S. Cotner. 2018. Small group gender ratios in active learning courses impact performance and peer evaluations. PLoS One. 13:e0195129.*Authors contributed equally to this work

  5. Ballen, C.J., H. W. Greene. 2017. Walking and talking the tree of life: Why and how to teach about biodiversity. PLoS Biology. 15:e2001630. 

  6. Ballen, C.J., C. Wieman, S. Salehi, J. Searle, K.R. Zamudio. 2017. Enhancing diversity in undergraduate science: Self-efficacy drives performance gains with active learning. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 16:ar56.​

  7. Ballen, C.J., N.A. Mason. 2017. Longitudinal analysis of a diversity support program in biology: a national call for further assessment. Bioscience 67:367-373.

  8. Cotner, S., J. Ballen. 2017. Can mixed assessment methods make biology classes more equitable? PLoS One. 12:e0189610.

  9. Ballen, C.J., J. Blum, S. Brownell, S. Hebert, J. Hewlett, J. Klein, E. McDonald, D. Monti, S. Nold, K. Slemmons, P. Soneral, S. Cotner. 2017. A call to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) for nonmajor courses. CBE-Life Sciences Education. 16:mr2.

  10. Cotner, S., J. Ballen, C.D. Brooks, R. Moore. 2011. Instructor gender and student confidence in the sciences: a need for more role models? Journal of College Science Teaching. 40:96-101.

Google Scholar Page


Undergraduate Graduate
Organismal Biology – BIOL1030

Last updated: 08/12/2023