Teaching

I am a strong advocate of experiential learning and the value of learning through genuine inquiry.  While content is important, I am much more interested in helping ensure that students are prepared to learn about – and to solve – environmental problems that are not yet in the text books or in the news.

I want students to read critically and write effectively, to be numerically literate, to formulate interesting questions and place them into a larger context, and to use appropriate tools of inquiry to address important questions.

I proudly support hundreds of UCSC student interns on the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot, where they develop skills in ecological research and natural history.

As Director of the UCSC NSF GK-12 SCWIBLES Graduate training program, I am deeply involved in professional development of in-service teachers and UCSC graduate students in developing inquiry-based learning approaches for K-16.

Courses I teach regularly

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). Winter or Spring of odd year   Syllabus
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). Winter or Spring of odd years Syllabus
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

Handouts used in multiple classes (help yourself)

Avoiding Plagiarism Statistics Primer 

Courses I have taught in the past or offer periodically

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.  In ENVS201A we will focus on Ecology, Evolution, Political Ecology, Geography, and Sociology as they inform environmental studies. Graduate students only. (5 units) Previously Co-taught with Margaret FitzSimmons or Andrew Szasz 
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)
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. Periodically offered.
 ENVS 122 Tropical Ecology and 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).  Spring of even years