Dr. Robert J. Cummings
Annual Faculty Lecturer 1992-1993
ROBERT J. CUMMINGS was born and raised in Southern California. His early years included ample introduction to natural history and led unwaveringly to his life as a biologist and teacher. He came to Santa Barbara in 1962 to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences in 1966, and continued at UCSB in Dr. Ian Ross' laboratory, earning a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. by 1975. His research centered on the chemical changes at cell surfaces during cell-cell interactions and development. Although his thesis work was in the area of cell biology, his interests drew him increasingly toward study of the "lower plants," algae and fungi, which have become his areas of professional expertise.
He joined the Biological Sciences Department of Santa Barbara City College in 1973, with teaching duties in the area of plant biology. He continues to teach Biology 101, Plant Biology, the introductory course in the series for Biological Science majors. He served as Chair of the Biological Sciences Department, 1983-85.
DR. CUMMINGS HAS always been active in the Santa Barbara community. He has been a frequent lecturer and consultant at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Museum of Natural History. He has served for many years as a consultant to the Parks Department of the City of Santa Barbara, dealing with algae problems in the Bird Refuge and other city ponds. He presents plant science demonstrations to students at local grade schools, and has worked with the South Coast Science Project for science teachers. He is an active member of such professional biological organizations as the California Native Plant Society, the Botanical Society of America and the North American Mycological Society.
Beside his teaching duties, the professor is the Faculty Adviser for students in the biology major, helping them with course planning, scheduling, university transfer, and providing educational guidance. He works closely with the Counseling Center, Transfer Center and university liaisons to facilitate the matriculation process.
DR. CUMMINGS' WIFE, Lynne, was a biology major at UCSB, and now teaches second grade at Montecito Union School. His son, Ryan, is currently in the United States Coast Guard, and plans to return to Santa Barbara City College to enroll in the Marine Technology Program.