Teaching

I work in academia because of my desire to better understand the relationships between people and coasts and to share this understanding with students. Through my work, I delve deeply into material that is highly relevant to larger issues of environment and sustainability. These issues—and the diverse communities, places, and activities that are tied to them—strongly lend themselves to capturing the interests and imaginations of students in diverse fields. The California coast is simply a wonderfully compelling place to learn about environmental science, policy, and resource management.

At CSUCI, I teach the following courses in the Environmental Science and Resource Management program:

  • ESRM 100 - Introduction to Environmental Science and Resource Management
  • ESRM 205 - Principles of Sustainability
  • ESRM 329 - Environmental Law and Policy
  • ESRM 464 - Land Use Planning and Open Space Management
  • ESRM 496 - Spring Speaker Series & Seminar

Hiking with students in my coastal science, law, and policy course in Drake's Estero at Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

My approach to improving students’ learning, to capturing their attention, and to facilitating their growth as scholars and as humans is guided by three practical values: objective-oriented design, experiential learning, and empathetic mentorship. Thoughtfully designing curriculum around specific learning objectives, assessing learning with targeted assessments, and then working backward to create content and delivery is a much more effective teaching strategy than simply "lecturing and testing."

Spending time in the "field"—whether it's a state beach park or the planning commission's public meeting room—is a great way for students to connect with material and to ask and inductively answer their own questions. Working with students in the "real world" provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with them as Colleagues in Science: by respecting them as individuals, I can tailor approaches for their learning and development. These values dovetail with my general approach to life: to be positive, constructive, introspective, receptive to feedback, and engaging whenever and however I can. Along the way, I've striven to constantly improve my teaching, both through practice, training, and critical reflection.

The courses I've offered are detailed on my CV.

Students are measuring the impacts of a seawall on the width and shape of a popular beach in Monterey, CA.

The California coast, which I love and study, is a marvelous setting to put all of these values into practice. I look forward to working with students and helping them learn through experiences focused on the interdisciplinary, intellectual, and environmental potential of this beautiful place.

Martin's Beach, in San Mateo County, is the site of an ongoing controversy over the public's right of access to public trust tidelands through private property. We visited with students in 2016.

There is much to learn outside of California as well. Here, we are viewing the ocean entry of lava from the current Kilauea eruption with the Earth Systems Field Program students in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is the newest coastline in the world!