California Community College Board of Governors

Winner of the Hayward Award for Excellence in Education

Dr. Raymond Wells



1.Positions Held: 

1982 - present:  Professor of  Biology. Life Science Department, Los Angeles Pierce Community College;
1983 - present:   Research Associate. Ocean Studies Institute, California State University;
1981-1994:   Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, California State University, Northridge; 
1978-1984:   Research Associate. Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California. Supervised laboratory of Kelp Invertebrate Project of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Impact Study, Marine Review Committee, California Coastal Commission.

2.              Professional Affiliations: 

Member of Board of Directors, Southern California Academy of Sciences 2001-2004; Western Society of Naturalists; National Science Foundation Consulting Board, Prescott College Sea of Cortez Marine Station - Educational Resources Moderator; Scientific Advisory Board; Los Angeles Cabrillo Marine Aquarium; Ecology Advisory Board, California Science Center, Los Angeles Museum of Natural History.

3.              Campus Activities:  

Chair of Professional Development Committee 1990-2004, Coordinator of Staff Development; Academic Senator;  Member of Student Retention, Distance Education and Technology Advisory Committees; Co-chaired the Shared Governance Committee - helped develop the shared governance structure for Pierce College; Student Grievance Advocate; participate as a presenter in campus outreach program to area high schools; Sponsor: Marine Science Program - largest and most diverse community college marine biology/oceanography program in California, courses to Catalina Island, Baja California, Sea of Cortex, Belize Central America and oceanographic cruises off Southern California.

4.              Educational Background: 

Ph.D. Biological Science, University of Southern California and Catalina Marine Science Center, 1985; M.S. Biology, California State University, Northridge, 1981; B.A. Biology, California State University, Northridge, 1974.


Hayward Award for Excellence in Education: California Community College Board of Governors, 2001
Pierce College Professor of the Month, November 2000
Recipient of Golden Apple Teaching Awards - Pierce College Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society
Leo Carillo State Beach Marine Resources Inventory; Contract No. 54-01-012, 1993
Faculty  Professional Development Research Grants, Pierce College, 1989, 1993.
Principal Investigator, Hydrolab Caribbean Regional Program Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1983.
Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research 1975 and 1978.


An Ecologist View of the Kelp Forest@, in Tidelines@, publication of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Vol 18, No. 3, 1999.
Marine Resources Inventory of Leo Carillo State Beach, California State Department of Parks and Recreation Publication
The Influence of Fish Predators on the Distribution and Abundance of the Tropical Sea Urchin Diadema antillarum. NOAA Technical Memorandum OAR NURP-2
Survival in the Kelp Forest: Competing Strategies Among Competing Species. Presented in colloquium series, Duke University Marine Laboratory, 1991.
Disturbance Mediated Competition in a Macrocystis Community.  In, Symposium on the Effects of Waste Disposal on Kelp Communities. Univ. Calif. Mar, Res, Inst./Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, 1983.
Disturbance Mediated Competition in a Shallow Subtidal Algal Community. Presented to Western Society of Naturalists, 1982.
Disturbance and Algal Competitive Interactions in a Marine Subtidal Community.  Invited presentation, Biology Colloquium Series, California State University, Northridge, 1983.
Report on the Aquatic Biology of the Lower Rio Papaloapan and Laguna Alvarado, Veracruz, Mexico.  United Nations and Pan American Health Organization sponsored multi disciplinary study in international development.
Activity Pattern as a Mechanism of Predator Avoidance in Two Species of Acmaeid Limpets. J. Exp. mar. Biol. Ecol., 1980, Vol. 48(2), pp. 151‑168.


Volunteer workshop presenter - Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks; Presenter - Career Day, Point Fermin and Park Western Elementary Schools; Scientific Advisory Board - Cabrillo Marine Aquarium; Ecology Advisory Board, California Science Center, Los Angeles Museum of Natural History;  I also provide marine biology resourses for local area high school instructors and helped develop the marine biology




My educational philosophy is grounded on the concept that students attend Pierce College to receive an integrated education, which empowers them with the information, critical thinking skills, and confidence needed to matriculate into a university environment and excel in life.

I am a marine ecologist, a biologist who teaches students the ecology and biology of the oceans.  More importantly I am a person who can inspire students to become truly educated.  My discipline is my passion.  As a teacher I convey to students not only course material, but also how to learn that material, and how to apply this knowledge to other course work and their future. My role in the lives of my students is to mentor them, to inspire them to desire knowledge, and to nurture them in this endeavor.

On the first day of class I ask students why they are pursuing a college education.  Their usual reply is so that they can get a job or advance in their job.  I question that answer, and guide the dialogue toward a consensus that the purpose of college is to develop the ability to make connections between courses, and to develop the ability to think critically, and that this is what makes them more desirable employees - and more able people.
The traditions of west coast marine biologists are many, having been maintained by virtue of time spent traveling together wherein our academic and social interactions are joined.  By making students aware of these traditions, and the personalities, quirks and experiences of  those who came before, I put faces on the facts they learn, and help them to relate to the course material on a more personal level. 

I have the privilege of teaching field classes, so I spend many hours and days away from campus with my students, including two weeks in the Sea of Cortez.  The students experience expedition marine biology first hand and obtain an understanding of the joys and hardships of the people who do this type of science.  Moreover, the students' familiarity with the actual process of science gives them the knowledge and confidence to ask appropriate questions of scientists.  In this setting I am also granted entrée into more than their scholastic lives, and they into mine.  One of the most special experiences I have is sharing ideas with my students under the stars of Baja while listening to whales breathe in the distance. On several occasions students have told me that these field experiences have changed their lives.

Most of my students, even those who participate in the entire field program, are not striving to become marine biologists.  Thus my goal is not to train biologists, but rather for my students to learn about marine biology and science, to have fun during the process, and to acquire the ability and desire to connect every new fact with the rest of their growing corpus of knowledge




Pierce College - 6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, California 91371 - 818. 347.0551
Pierce Home - Student Info - Student Services - Departments / People  - Help