Courses

"A college professor is someone who talks in other people's sleep" - Bergen Evans

Teaching3

I regularly teach undergraduate courses in Animal Behavior (in Athens, New Zealand, and Australia), Herpetology, Natural Sciences Research, Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment (in New Zealand and Australia), and a doctoral course in Developing University Teaching Skills.  I am also a member of the University of Georgia’s Graduate Faculty, I offer honor's options for most of my courses, and I  serve as a research advisor for the Center for Undergraduate Research (CURO).


My philosophy on university instruction and mentoring is based on four student objectives.  First, students in any formal course or independent research experience should develop a complete understanding of a subject’s core concepts and approaches.  Second, students should become literate citizens by understanding the application of a particular field to issues of human concern.  Third, students should have frequent opportunities to develop practical skills.  Writing is a stem skill, and I am a strong advocate for developing student writing within rather than external to subject courses. Writing fosters “discipline specific ways of knowing.”  That is, writing is the easiest way to learn the processes, rules of evidence, and philosophical frameworks of a field.  Finally, students should develop an awareness of their own learning styles and motivations for inquiry.  Writing, peer-instruction and public speaking, and self-directed inquiry are all tasks that foster self-awareness of one’s learning styles and fuel the desire to become self-directed learners.


I use a variety of techniques to address these, though most are focused on models of “student-centered learning”.  For example, in my large lecture courses we use small “games” and group discussions to take the focus away from traditional instructor-centered lectures and toward student-led problem solving.  In my smaller classes, we use a jigsaw model whereby student groups develop and teach small components of each lab.  The process of deconstructing materials to teach them to their peers promotes a much higher level of student literacy and develops student confidence in their ability to present materials to an audience. I use course wikis, book reviews, short essays, and faculty profiles with peer review to give students a large volume of substantive writing instruction and exposure to other faculty. I believe that meeting each of my three objectives insures that students improve their literacy and take something positive away from their science education regardless of their future career choice.


Finally, I am strong believer in the heuristic value of place-based learning.  To that end, my courses always involve hands on activities, field trips, and I am heavily involved in UGA's Discover Abroad program in New Zealand and Australia.


A listing of courses is below.



Calvin and Hobbes snowflake2


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