Natural and Physical Sciences Faculty
Professor Patrick Fields earned a bachelor’s in paleo-plant ecology from the University of California, Davis, a master’s in paleontology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in botany and plant pathology with a specialty in fossil plants from Michigan State University. Prof. Fields specializes in paleoecology, paleogeography and systematics of middle Miocene fossil plants as well as the geology of the fossil plant-bearing deposits in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Both his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation were on middle Miocene fossil floras from the Western Snake River Plain of western Idaho and eastern Oregon. He continues his research each summer while serving as director of paleontology and geology, and research associate in paleobotany at the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History at the College of Idaho.
Prof. Fields has served as president of the Michigan Botanical Club (on the state and local chapter levels) and of the Michigan Botanical Foundation and on the board of directors of the Doty Native Wildflower Association and the Hanes Trust. All four of these organizations support research and education of native plants of the Great Lakes region. Prof. Fields is also known as “Doc Choc,” having given lectures and short courses and conducted tasting sessions on chocolate throughout the country. He has been featured on television and radio, as well as in magazine and newspaper articles.
Prof. Fields has taught at Olivet since 1998. He currently teaches introductory biology; botany; field botany; environmental science; geology; nature, technology & humanity; and physical geography; and oversees various student independent research projects. He is the faculty advisor to the Science Club and co-advisor for the Olivet chapter of Sigma Zeta (the national math and science honor society).