Courses Taught

  • CROP/SOIL/ENT 101 Introduction to Crop, Soil, and Insect Sciences, Oregon State University, Ecampus
  • CSS 205 Soil Science, Oregon State University, Ecampus
  • SOIL 205/206 Soil Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis campus
  • SUS 102 Intro to Environmental Science and Sustainability, Oregon State University, Corvallis campus
  • SUS 102 Intro to Environmental Science and Sustainability, Oregon State University, Ecampus
  • ENR 1100 Environment and Natural Resource Problems and Policies, University of Wyoming

Philosophy

My teaching is motivated by a sense of urgency about of the state of the world’s ecosystems, the social systems that are tied to them, and the need for all citizens, regardless of identity, interest or occupation, to adopt more sustainable practices. My mode of teaching is necessarily one of information transmission, due to the large size and introductory level of my classes, with a heavy focus on developing students’ natural and social awareness and their critical thinking skills.

I provide clear structure and expectations. I love a good course map. Structure and organization provide students with guidance and an understanding of the purpose for the assignments, increasing their motivation to persist through challenging tasks. Students chart their progress towards course and program goals via consistent structure, vivid examples, and informative rubrics. In courses I have adopted from other instructors, I rework some lectures and assignments each term, so students and I can see an organizational structure to guide us toward course outcomes. After these revisions, formative assessments indicate that students are experiencing less confusion compared to previous terms.

I provide outlets for creativity and self-direction. Students create fascinating and insightful work when invited to do so. I ask students to find their own readings for critical analysis, and to submit poetry, art, prose, and/or images to demonstrate their engagement with the course content and comprehension of key concepts. I offer alternative assignments to encourage students to wrestle with content in ways that engage their specific learning styles, including designing their own assignments. I conduct midterm check-ins with struggling students and remind them of alternative opportunities.

I create an inclusive classroom. I ask students to share with me relevant information about their identities, abilities, experiences, etc. I respond individually and use that information to design and facilitate effective, inclusive classroom experiences. I emphasize collaboration over competition by encouraging learners to work together. On-campus, this includes service learning projects, in-class activities, and labs. Online, this takes the form of discussion forums, including a role-playing townhall meeting in which students must consider their classmates’ comments respectfully and in detail. I find (and the literature supports) that the more I respond and engage students in these forums, the more they engage with one other.

Students are encouraged to question me in ways that work for them — during class, after class, during office hours, aloud, online, or in a notebook they can pass back and forth with me. I welcome student and GTA feedback on my teaching. Students to complete a mid-term evaluation, and an end-of-term exit survey. I respond to this input over the course of the term and in future terms. In SOIL 205, I invite students to rework my slides and the textbook figures as homework assignments. Student critiques to exam grading have resulted in improved exam questions for future terms. I frequently solicit ideas and edits from my teaching assistants and adopt many of their ideas, including new assignments.

I learn and adapt. My teaching has evolved considerably over the years I’ve been at OSU, particularly in my communication style and my mindset. I have made a concerted effort to be open, to share my stories and to make myself known to my students. Through intensive coaching from the Center for Teaching and Learning and faculty learning communities, I have come to appreciate the value to learners when the instructor presents as a whole person. I share my background, experiences, and interests in lectures, in assignment examples, and in alternate credit opportunities with community organizations I support. I update students about activities of relevant community organizations and reveal my support and promotion of environmental education in the community.

My upbringing conditioned me to be a rugged individualist and to see the world for its instrumental values. Yet my education and experiences have made me a systems thinker, acutely aware of interconnections and dependencies in our social-ecological systems. Although a fairly strong introvert with a reserved and introspective disposition, I have a stronger commitment to environmental and sustainability education as my method of working to protect and improve human life on Earth. In teaching environmental science, soil science, and sustainability to students who have never considered these things before, I bring an awareness of the hidden complexity of these topics and their relevance to students’ lives.

Syllabi

Available on request

Materials

Available on request

Courses Developed

  • CROP/SOIL/HORT 407 Seminar, Oregon State University, Ecampus
  • CROP/SOIL/ENT 101 Introduction to Crop, Soil, and Insect Sciences, Oregon State University, Ecampus
  • SUS 331 Sustainability, Justice, and Engagement, Oregon State University, Ecampus (collaborator)
  • SUS 102 Intro to Environmental Science and Sustainability, Oregon State University, Ecampus

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