Teaching Philosophy


My primary teaching goal is to prepare students for careers in the natural resources, and inspire lifelong learning so they keep up-to-date in this constantly evolving field.  Most of my teaching responsibilities contribute to the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science’s Integrated Field Practicum (IFP) in the summer and fall semesters.  IFP combines a suite of required courses for SFRES majors into a unique, semester-long, field-based, intensive learning experience at the Ford Center and Forest.  

Natural resource managers and scientists require strong practical skills grounded in a deep understanding of theory and ethics; therefore, I use a mix of lecturing and active learning to integrate practical skills with theory.  I engage students by relating to students’ experiences and career goals, and using real-world examples. I connect classroom activities to research projects and the Ford Forest’s long-term experiments, including the Northern Hardwoods Experiment to Enhance Diversity (NHSEED) which I established in 2016 as part of a funded USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative project. Students will change careers several times in their lifetime; therefore, I incorporate transferable skills through activities that require gathering and evaluating information, holistic systems thinking to creatively solve real-world problems, and communicating outcomes. 

I strive to continually improve my pedagogical skills through evaluating and adapting my teaching. Feedback from students and peers, and personal reflection is vital to this process. I keep a reflective teaching log, noting how each day went and modifications which should be made for the next semester. I carefully assess student evaluations at the end of each semester, and incorporate informal feedback from students as I revise the course before each semester. Finally, faculty teaching as part of the Integrated Field Practicum meet periodically to discuss challenges, provide informal feedback for each other, and strategically plan adjustments for the following semesters.  I keep informed of pedagogical developments though self-study, and in the last five years have attended over twenty William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning events, three UP-Teaching and Learning Conferences, and participated in the spring 2016 Pavlis Honors College Transformation Education Collaborative.  

Finally, supporting diversity in the natural resources profession is central to my teaching.  I have integrated material from Safe Place Training Supporting into my classroom and am engaged in efforts to support all students.  I have served as an alternate diversity liaison for SFRES, am a faculty advisor for the Women in Natural Resources (WiNR) student group, and active member of the Ezhi-wiidanokiindiyang omaa akiing ebiitamang:Environmental Stewardship and Indigeneity Learning Group.

Last revised: 24 September 2019