In the role of Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs: Budget and Research (AVPAA:BR), Ribble is the primary point person for academic departments in preparing their annual budget requests for consideration by the VPAA. Additionally, he serves as an ex-officio member of the Faculty Development and Lecturers and Visiting Scholar Committees, coordinates the faculty research dinner series, manages the operation of the DeCoursey and other major campus lecture series, and oversees supplemental funding requests for full-time faculty regarding start-up funding, resource expenses, and support for research, scholarship and creative activities. He supervises the Director of the Center for International Engagement, the Director for Sponsored Research, the Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Science Facilities Manager.
Ribble teaches courses in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. He has been recognized for his passion in the classroom, in the lab, and most especially in the field; his courses often involve multiple weekend field trips where students camp out and work dawn to midnight surveying small mammals, birds, and bats. He has led experiential field-based learning courses within the Untied States, China, and Costa Rica. He names one of his top accomplishments as inspiring students to continue with their own studies of biodiversity with over 12 of his students pursuing or having earned advanced degrees in science. He currently serves as the Chair of the Environmental Studies Major.
As a scholar, Ribble has a significant track record, having delivered dozens of scientific presentations and published numerous scientific articles, most of which have been co-authored with Trinity students. His scholarship has taken various students in recent years to Mexico, Tanzania and South Africa, and recently culminated in the discovery and description of a new mammal, the grey-faced elephant-shrew, from the Eastern Arc Mountains of central Tanzania. As Chair of the Biology Department, he supported his colleagues to earn external grant support from the Keck Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Science Foundation. He is a strong supporter of public schools and along with his wife, Helen, has engaged their children's school in promoting an outdoor science-based curriculum.
*Indicates Trinity student
In his own words, David Ribble writes, "My teaching philosophies extend beyond my formal Trinity classroom responsibilities. I have been active in the greater San Antonio community working with conservation groups and local parks to help conserve their resources and educate the public about the importance of these resources. My wife and I have coordinated and led outdoor-science field trips for an inner-city public school, Bonham Academy. For example, several times I have taken 3rd graders on a birding and small mammal trip to Mitchell Lake Wetlands where I live-trapped small mammals for the students to observe and record using modern scientific equipment such as Global Positioning System (GPS) techniques. I have to be honest and admit that working with younger kids is truly motivating."
I also find myself at Trinity gravitating to lower division courses because of the need to instill awe as soon as possible. For example, under my leadership the Biology Department is designing new non-majors courses for Trinity that are critical for improving science literacy in the general population. I am also in the middle of developing a Biodiversity Science course for sophomores and Environmental Studies students that will be field-intensive and take advantage of our proximity to Brackenridge Park.
In addition to being Chair of the Biology Department and I am the Faculty Sheppard of our Science and Engineering Facilities Planning Committee. I am also a member of the International Studies Faculty Committee (Environmental Studies Coordinator) and the Environmental Studies Faculty Committee.