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Teaching. I often say that I write so that I know what I think, what I know, and what I don't know. Teaching is writing multiplied by the number of engaged students in the class. I don't think I've ever taught a class where I didn't learn as much as I taught. If I don't really understand something before I teach it, the students make sure that I do by the time I'm done -- or at least I'll know what needs to be understood better. Teaching often shows me what I should be thinking about, and guides my research. As a researcher I also believe that students learn best by asking questions themselves, and especially questions that don't have a clear answer. The goal in all my teaching is to get students to ask themselves hard questions, and to make sure they have the tools to find the information they need, evaluate it critically, and then write about it clearly. Most of my teaching draws heavily on primary literature or hands-on inquiry-based approaches, because I want our graduates to move into the world able to draw on all the resources they can to creatively solve the environmental issues of tomorrow -- not those of yesterday. I ask that the students recognize the great responsibility that comes with the privilege of education, and that part of that responsibility is to use scientific understanding to continually re-evaluate the assumptions that shape their world view .

Besides teaching in the classroom, I take strongly value the importance of mentoring students in independent studies, internships, and senior theses. As the faculty representative for the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve I host a large number of internships and independent studies, particularly focused on the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot. Similarly, I have an active laboratory of graduate students working on a wide range of topics in applied ecology and evolutionary biology.

My interests in inquiry-based teaching and learning has recently taken a central focus in my career with the establishment of a graduate training program called SCWIBLES, the Santa-Cruz Watsonville Inquiry-Based Learning in Environmental Sciences. SCWIBLES is a partnership between UCSC and Watsonville High School. As Director of SCWIBLES, I will help shape a training program that helps Environmental Science graduate student effectively communicate about science with non-scientists while working to develop an effective Environmental Science and Natural Resources curriculum at Watsonville High School, a predominantly Latino-serving, and chronically underperforming high school.

Regularly Taught Classes
ENVS 122 Tropical Ecology an Conservation. This course is an introduction to the ecological processes, principles, and players of tropical ecosystems, and to conservation issues facing tropical forests, with particular emphasis on the American (neo) tropics. We will look at how tropical ecosystems work, roles of humans in shaping them, and current conservation opportunities and dilemmas (5 units).   Syllabus.    Spring of even years
ENVS 163 Plant Disease Ecology. Introduction to ecological roles of plant diseases, including their importance in regulating plant population dynamics, community diversity, and system function in natural ecosystems; considerations of plant diseases in conservation ecology; and ecological approaches to managing diseases in agroecosystems. (5 units). Syllabus Spring of odd years
ENVS 163 Plant Disease Ecology Lab. Introduction to techniques for studying plant diseases, including detection, isolation, cultivation, and identification of important groups of plant pathogens, completing Koch's postulates; diseases assessment techniques; experimental manipulation of plant-pathogen systems; and basic epidemiological tools. One field trip required. Concurrent enrollment in course 163 required. Enrollment limited to 24. (2 units). Syllabus. Spring of odd years
ENVS 201A Keywords and Concepts in Environmental Studies. ENVS 201A and 201B comprise a two-quarter sequence to explore the range of scholarly traditions that inform the kinds of research most common to the Environmental Studies department at UC Santa Cruz. We recognize and expect that you come into the program with some experience and understanding (from undergraduate classes, master’s work, on-the-job training) of ecology, statistics, sociology/political science, and economics. This course is not a primer in each of these fields, but is rather designed to take a look at the key concepts, language, and epistemologies that come from different scholarly traditions, and how they intersect, produce conflict, and offer synergies in the environmental problem solving project. ENVS 201A is co-taught by a geographer, a community ecologist, and ten new graduate students. The professors in ENVS 201B will be a biogeochemical ecologist and a planner/environmental lawyer. In ENVS201A we will focus on Ecology and Geography as they inform environmental studies. Although we will review and discuss key concepts and terms, the focus will be on appreciating the roots and trajectories of different traditions, and the tensions and synergies experienced in interdisciplinary work. We will also explore tools for following literature forwards and backwards and organizing your scholarly explorations from the start. Graduate students only. (5 units) Co-taught with Andrew Szasz SyllabusEach Fall.
ENVS 201M Research Methods in ENVS ENVS 201M offers graduate students the opportunity to become familiar with the research expertise of the faculty in the Environmental Studies department. It is designed (1) for incoming graduate students to get to know the scholarly interests of the Environmental Studies faculty, (2) for grad students to form a more coherent picture of what we are as a department, (3) for faculty to get to know the new cohort, and (4) to provide a sampling of the resources faculty offer as committee members as graduate students begin to develop their own research proposals. ENVS Graduate students only. (2 units) Syllabus. Each Fall.
ENVS 291D  Advanced Readings in Tropical Ecology, Agriculture, and Development. Analyzes recent publications in ecology, conservation, agroecology, and development in tropical and subtropical regions, particularly Latin America. Discussions place special emphasis on integration across natural and social science disciplines to address issues of sustainability in tropical regions. Format of course varies; in some years it focuses on collectively writing and publishing a book review or original research paper, in other years on a diversity of research presentation. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. (2 units) Co-taught by CenTREAD co-directors Greg Gilbert and Karen Holl and other CenTREAD faculty. Spring Quarters, (co-taught with Karen Holl)
ENVS291 Transitioning to R. The goal of this class is to help students, postdocs, or faculty who have a background in basic statistics and a familiarity with some other statistics package (JMP, SYSTAT, SAS, SPSS) to become comfortable with the R Project as a platform for statistical analyses. It is not meant as a course in statistics, nor will it cover more than a small portion of what is available in R. At the end of the course you should be comfortable managing data in R, making graphs, performing an array of different basic statistical analyses, and be able to use the extensive resources available on line and in books to learn to do just about anything statistical you'd like to in R.Fall quarters of odd years.
Syllabus, handouts, and sample R codes are here
Some handouts I use in multiple classes
Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism Guide to Library Resources, Web of Science, and Endnote Critical Reader's Guide to Statistics
Submitting and reviewing a manuscript Endnote basics Hints for Excel Basics