David Koetje

David Koetje


  • BS in Biology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, 1985
  • PhD in Plant Physiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 1991

Professional experience

  • Professor Biology Department, Calvin College, 2008 – present 
  • Associate Professor Biology Department, Calvin College, 1998 – 2008
  • Assistant Professor Biology Department, SUNY Fredonia, 1993 – 1998
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate Department of Botany, Washington State University, 1991 – 1992


Professor Koetje’s career reflects his broad scholarly interests that range from examining plants' interactions with their environments, to promoting sustainability, to catalyzing pedagogical and curricular reforms in biology education.  Growing concerns about environmental crises led him to teach courses on place-based sustainability in Hawaii and more recently in the Netherlands. In the Dutch Sustainability course, currently offered in May of even-numbered years, he and his colleagues lead excursions that explore how human interactions with nature have shaped places over centuries and how people are now working together to deal with a broad array of sustainability challenges. You can learn more by visiting the course webpage.

Academic interests

  • eco-sustainability
  • refugia gardening
  • plant-based diets and regenerative agriculture
  • plant environmental stress responses
  • plant biotechnology
  • scientific teaching pedagogies and active learning

Research and scholarship

Refugia are small pockets of resilience where communities of interacting species can survive and adapt to new fitness conditions resulting from climate change and other ecological disturbances. Inspired by this concept, Professor Koetje is proposing a set of principles and practices to guide “refugia gardening” in urban environments, especially in yards and parks. He contends that through refugia gardening, ordinary citizens can engage in networks for biodiversity conservation to nurture a vision for a more hopeful future. To learn more about this project, check out his Refugia Gardening website.


Peer-reviewed publications (names of students underlined)

  • Buteyn NYI OhJ KnottP StephensJ KonyndykJ Tenney, A Wilstermann, H Fynewever, D Koetje (2019) Exploring nutraceuticals to enhance scientific literacy: Aligning with Vision and Change. American Biology Teacher 81(3): 176-185 
  • DS Koetje (2011) Hosta sports: Phenotypic streaks and genomic upsets.  The Hosta Journal 42(1): 17-20.
  • DS Koetje (2005) Place-based agriculture: Christian environmentalism informing collaborations in agroecology and biotechnology.  Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith 57: 13-23

Books & Chapters (names of students underlined)

  • Koetje DS, ME Sheehan (2008) “Biotechnology: Building consensus with knowledge,” In: E Vander Lei and D Ward, eds. Real Texts: Reading and Writing Across the Disciplines, Pearson Publishers, New York, NY
  • Koetje DS, ed. (2006) Living the Good Life on God’s Good Earth. Faith Alive Resources, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Koetje DS (2003) Jasmonates.  In: HL Henry and AW Norman, eds, Encyclopedia of Hormones, Academic Press, San Diego, CA; vol. 2, pp. 523-528

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