Teaching

I am currently teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the Sustainability minor and Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation programs. To view the syllabi, please click on the course name. For more information on the course description and objectives, please see below. I am also on the faculty for the Conservation Sciences and Ecology, Evolution and Behavior graduate programs.

Fall 2018

SUST 3003: Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet (Intro to Sustainability)

Spring 2019

FW5121: Conservation Planning & Structured-Decision Making

Course descriptions and objectives:

Conservation planning and structured decision making (FW5121)

We are impacting our planet and the species and ecosystems on it at an unprecedented rate. This creates key policy challenges to conserve species, ecosystems, and the benefits they provide to people. But, how do we decide what is the best way to tackle these challenges? How do we do this in a world with limited resources (time, money) for conservation, and multiple stakeholders with different objectives? How can we make systematic decisions to get the biggest bang for our conservation buck? To address these questions, this course will cover key topics and concepts in conservation planning and provide exposure and hands-on experience with techniques for conservation plans and decisions. We will cover topics ranging from protected areas, restoration, ecosystem services, and climate change to structured decision-making, adaptive management, and return on investment. The course has a lecture and in class computer lab component. This course will present structured approaches to problem-solving and decision-making from conservation perspective, and students will leave with tools for structuring and solving complex environmental problems. Therefore, this is a foundational course in conservation planning but will also provide students will a tool-box to formulate and solve complex problems in environmental management more broadly and in life.

Prerequisites: Senior or graduate standing, or permission of instructor. Recommended: One course in ecology, environmental science or permission of instructor.

Objectives

  • Analyze and understand challenges for conservation in our current times
  • Apply and understand key concepts and principles in conservation planning, and their applications in real-world settings
  • Apply current approaches and techniques to solve complex conservation challenges and decisions
  • Evaluate key scientific literature in conservation planning through reading and analyzing scientific papers, and applying this knowledge to lab assignments designed as hypothetical conservation plans and decisions.

Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet (SUST 3003)

Sustainability recognizes that social equity, environmental integrity, and economic prosperity are all worthy goals, but that these goals compete, so that it is impossible to maximize all three of them concurrently. Some objectives of sustainability are therefore realized at the cost of other equally valid objectives. Sustainability is inherently ethical and requires decisions to be rooted in moral principles and value judgments. In Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet, we will approach sustainability from multiple viewpoints and explore various models for understanding and integrating these value judgments. We will demonstrate, by utilizing a variety of real-world case studies, the conflicts and trade-offs that occur from trying to put sustainability into practice.

Prerequisites: Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet is intended for sophomores and above. There are no formal prerequisites, but you should have previous exposure to critical reading, writing, and thinking (e.g., freshman writing). The course currently satisfies the CLE elective theme for Environment, and is also the introduction course for the Sustainability Studies Minor.

Objectives:  

  • Describe, explain, interpret, and summarize basic facts and concepts involved in the study and practice of sustainability
  • Connect the diversity of perspectives involved in sustainability, including history, philosophy, psychology, economics, politics, religion, culture, science, and technology
  • Examine, and discuss competing economic, social, and environmental goals
  • Collaborate with others to find common ground in the search for sustainability
  • Appraise, assess, and evaluate real-world case studies involving sustainability trade-offs
  • Incorporate concepts of sustainability into your own life