current courses

My current teaching is focused in the M.S. in Environment and Sustainability Management program, a joint program between the Earth Commons, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the McDonough School of Business. I also teach upper-level undergraduate electives in Environmental Studies.

ENST 404: International Approaches to Community-based Conservation (3 cr.)

The conservation of natural resources and biodiversity is an international priority in the current period of global change. In this course, students will assess how natural resources can be used sustainably through ethical conservation practices led by local and Indigenous communities. We will examine case studies from around the world, including applications of traditional and local ecological knowledge in the Arctic, the ‘wildlife economy’ paradigm in Africa, and decentralized forest governance in the Amazon rainforest, among others. We will use a discussion-based approach to assess the strengths and weaknesses of diverse approaches to management to come up with promising practices which prioritize sustainable use, biodiversity conservation, and the livelihoods of local communities. This course blends the science, policy, and ethics of international natural resource conservation.

ENVS 6002: Environmental Science I: Earth Systems and Natural Processes (3 cr.)

This course is the first of a two-course sequence (Environmental Science I and II). It explores the scientific principles, concepts, and methods required to understand critical disciplinary perspectives and interrelationships of the natural world. We will identify and analyze environmental and sustainability challenges and evaluate potential solutions. Students will learn to articulate the boundaries of science and describe the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science. This course covers fundamental aspects of earth system interactions including biodiversity and conservation, ecology and evolution, population dynamics, nutrient cycling, and ecosystem resources. In this course, students will be required to think critically regarding the scope of environmental conditions in terms of basic mathematics, accurate scientific language, and tools that can be used to describe environmental variables and conditions. 

ENVS 6003: Environmental Science II: Natural and Human Interactions (3 cr.)

This course is the second of a two-course sequence (Environmental Science I and II). It focuses on the science-based yet interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues. Some of these issues include water resources and water pollution, air pollution, food and agriculture, waste management, mining and extraction of natural resources, and environmental health and toxicology. Students will focus on in-depth analysis of environmental controversies (e.g., pesticide use, hydraulic fracturing, monocultures, urban heat island effect). Through case studies and other interactive modes of learning, students learn key problem-solving elements used in environmental science including uncertainty management, decision analysis, and skills for multi-constituency problem-solving. These elements include concepts such as tragedy of the commons, precautionary principle, and systems thinking. Students will consider multi-disciplinary problems and solutions of natural resource usage and the impact on the environment. Students also learn the importance of engaging in the debate about environmental problems with data-supported insights via many forms of communication.

ENVS 6011: Drawing Inference from Environmental Data to Lead Change (1.5 cr.)

This course focuses on developing the quantitative skills necessary for identifying and analyzing socioenvironmental data. Using a hands-on, experiential approach, students learn basic methods to build and manage databases. They also study the basics of descriptive and inferential statistical methods, including exploratory data analyses, and basic linear and logistic regressions. Introductions to multivariate analysis and model selection complement the development of analytical skills. The course provides students with experience in the application of statistical methods and the use of open-source statistical software, R. Students also learn the importance of using such analytics to lead change in the context of an original research project and for the Capstone.

ENVS 6012: Environmental Data Visualization and Storytelling (1.5 cr.)

In this course, students learn how to effectively identify, explore, and communicate key insights from environmental data to diverse audiences through data visualization and presentation. This course teaches best practices in data visualization, developing and interpreting different charts and graphs with open-source software tools. Classes consist of short lectures on key principles of effective communication and data management, coupled with discussions, peer critiques, and hands-on visualization activities. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to interpret findings in terms of an emerging story that the data reveal about the core research questions addressed and the decisions that can be communicated to motivate others to action.

Previous courses

ENVS 6001: Environment, Business, and Sustainability Management (3 cr.)

This course serves as a starting point for the MS-ESM coursework by introducing students to the diverse aspects of sustainability, equipping them with a strong foundational knowledge of the theory of sustainability and the balance between environmental, social, and economic pressures. The focus of this course is organizational sustainability in a variety of organizations (for-profit businesses, nonprofits, foundations). Through an immersive series of case studies, students work on real-life challenges in groups to identify the issues, problems, and solutions required at the intersection of business and the natural environment. In addition, this course provides a primer to ethics, equity, and justice issues.

INTS 210: Sustainable World (4 cr.) (George Mason University)

This is designed to be a core course for George Mason University’s Environmental and Sustainability Studies major and Sustainability Studies Minor. It also satisfies part of the Mason Core natural science requirement. It includes 3 credits for class time and an additional 1 credit for the sustainability-related experiential learning component. This course will focus on understanding the basic issues in the natural sciences and social sciences that underlie many of the world’s current environmental problems. We will also consider ethical matters, such as equity, as they pertain to global resource consumption, pollution, and climate change.

BIOL 102 & BIOL 103: Introductory Biology I & II (1 cr.) (George Mason University)