Colleen Witt

Professor of Instruction, Honors College

Colleen Witt


My growing-up years reflected the typical nomadic lifestyle of a military family. After graduating high school in New Mexico, I worked my way through college throughout my twenties. It was a struggle, but I finally received my B.S. degree in biology with honors from UTSA. After receiving my doctorate in Immunology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I moved to California to do a post-doc at U.C. Berkeley where I was thrilled to conduct research in a lab that was pioneering the use of advanced imaging technology to study T-cell development in real-time in live tissues. This experience brought me back to UTSA to start up an advanced imaging core. I worked for many years as a Research Scientist and Director of core facilities before joining the Honors College as full-time faculty. Along the way, I returned to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a Masters in the History and Philosophy of Science. You might say I have one foot in the hard sciences and the other foot in the humanities.

Today I enjoy taking advantage of my dual perspective on the sciences to teach a wide range of classes for the Honors College. I enjoy seminar courses that probe the big questions that science majors do not often have the luxury or time to probe. What is the phenomenon of life? What is consciousness? I also greatly enjoy experience-based classes. One of my all-time favorites has been the Desert Series which takes a small group of Honors students out to the high desert of West Texas to explore the flora and natural history of the land. We also explore the night skies through the eyes of past indigenous peoples as well as through the ‘extended eyes’ of modern telescopes of the McDonald Observatory. This class has proved to be a transformational experience for past students. Many of the students from the inaugural class still gather annually from all over and return out west to make new memories. I think this is one of my favorite aspects of teaching for the Honors College. Faculty have support and freedom to be creative in our course development, but it’s the students that make an idea come to life. The spirit, intellectual curiosity, and enthusiasm of our Honors students make the classes. They say to find a job that you love and you never have to work again. This I have done and I owe that success to our students.

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